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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What's the point of having rules?

Out of Singapore, we have this globally recurring theme:

Procurement lapses due to individual officers' failure to follow rules: MOF
The Auditor-General's report scrutinized the expenditure of government ministries and statutory boards for the last financial year and was released on Wednesday. Several ministries were cited for various oversights.
[The StraitsTimes reported, For instance, the Media Development Authority negotiated with a vendor for a revised proposal to organise the $4.57 million Film Festival. This was after the request for proposal exercise had closed, and contravened government rules. Another tender by Republic Polytechnic was not conducted in an open and fair manner, Auditor-General Willie Tan said. The tender was for a $19.14 million project to develop an integrated academic system."]

The Ministry of Finance said it has reminded all permanent secretaries and heads of government agencies to pay close attention to procurement issues.

Government agencies are also urged to undertake regular reviews of procurement processes and ensure vigilant supervision throughout all stages of the procurement process.

The ministry stressed that it is essential that the public service and its officers remain fully accountable for the use of public funds and uphold the integrity of public procurement.

To further strengthen government procurement as a whole, the ministry said it has already stepped up the training of public officers, as well as requiring all agencies to conduct regular internal audits to provide an independent check.

Work is also in progress to develop a procurement specialist track, with professional development opportunities and proper career pathways.

MOF explained that the procurement specialist track will help professionalise the practice of procurement by giving officers greater recognition and more opportunities to develop deep skills and knowledge.

The ministry said while it cannot expect to be able to completely eliminate lapses in a system with over 80,000 tenders and quotations annually, the public service is committed to take every effort to avoid them or promptly rectify them when they are detected.

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