GOVERNMENT institutions may spend a lot of money on car fuel, but the cost may not be realistic for the money that has been spent could be inflated, according to the Government Procurement Services Agency (GPSA).
This is because some dishonest officials tend to steal fuel from cars and, as a consequence, public funds are misused. Thus, the GPSA has decided to come up with a remedy to check fuel consumption, thus saving public funds that could be spent on other development projects.
As it turns 10 years old since inception, the agency comes up with its birthday gift: Fuel Management Information System (FMIS). Established in 2007, the GPSA is responsible for procurement, storage and distribution of stock items for re-sale to government and non-government institutions.
The provision of clearing and forwarding and consultancy services, and warehousing facilities, arranging for procurement of commonly used items and services by ministries, independent department and agencies and local government authorities using framework contracts.
GPSA Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lilian Mwinuka says they have tested the system in 10 regions, so it will save the fuel lost deliberately by dishonest government officials. “This system will help the government control delivery of fuel and uses because it will be recording the amount in each filled vehicle,” she noted.
The vehicles will be fixed with tracking gadgets to monitor their routes. Five public institutions: the GPSA itself, the Procurement and Supplies Professionals and Technicians Board (PSPTB), Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), National Environment Management Council (NEMC) and the Gaming Board.
“We are planning to launch the system on the 10th anniversary of the agency in efforts to support the Fifth Phase Government in minimising public expenditure,” she reveals. Explaining on how the system works, she says the new system will involve less paperwork between procuring entities and GPSA and enable the agency to replace a dip stick used to calculate the amount of fuel.
The dip stick is prone to tampering and it is not always accurate, and thus the more transparent system to be introduced will enable procuring entities to easily and accurately monitor their fuel consumption. The new system will be web-based and procuring entities will be issued with smart cards for each vehicle to enable them to fuel at a GPSA depot.
Vehicles will also be fitted with special electronic gadgets to complement the system. “It’s a good system particularly for this government which insists on reducing unnecessary expenditure,” she assures. The agency will launch the new system at a time when it has introduced government vehicles’ bulk procurement system since 2014/15.
“We have also seen the government losing a lot of money in vehicle procurement… so we have decided to control vehicle procurement, which has brought about positive results because since it started it has saved a lot of money,” she explains.
For his part, GPSA Head of Procurement and Consultancy David Nganila notes that there is an increase in procurement contracts entered by government agencies from 2009/10 to 2017/18. “In 2009/10, we started with 3,397 contracts.
The number has shoot up to 9,792 agreements in 2017/18. Apart from this increase, understanding of the issues on contracts has also improved,” he states. However, the history of the GPSA goes back to 1901 when the German colonial rule established the first Depot (Government Stores) at Bagamoyo.
For providing supplies ranging from hardware (building materials), motor vehicle spare parts and accessories, household appliances and uniforms for the government staff. Later on, in 1945 Government Stores was transferred to Dar es Salaam (present premises) where the services of clearing and forwarding and the provision of petroleum (fuel and lubricants) products were also taken on board.
In 1952, to create efficiency, the Colonial Government transferred to the Government Stores the function of providing office stationery, which was formerly the responsibility of the Government Printer.
The aim was to make the Government Printer concentrate on print work and let the Government Stores deal with storage and distribution. Depots were established in eight administrative centres of Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Mtwara, Morogoro, Kigoma, Arusha, Mwanza and Tabora to ensure that supplies are available across the country.
Over the years, the number of depots remained the same until the time of Independence in 1961 four new depots were opened in Kilimanjaro, Dodoma, Mbeya and Lindi regions. In addition, the government decided to recapitalise the Government Stores by establishing a special fund known as the Government Stores Fund with 24.6m/- capital.
The fund was established under section 17(3) of the Exchequer and Audit Ordinance, 1961. By 1972, the number of depots had increased from 12-20. This was done in tandem with the government’s decision to decentralise certain administrative functions to the regions.
At regional level, the Government Stores was operating under the Office of Regional Development Director until 1986 when it was transferred to the Ministry of Works. In 1980, the Government Stores was restructured to become a Department of Supplies and Services headed by a Director, who also had an additional role of supervising the development of supplies and warehouse professionals in the civil service, which was the responsibility that belonged to the Treasury.
The enactment of the Public Procurement Act No 21 of 2004 through which ministries, departments and agencies were given the freedom to source common use items from the open market was another important stage in the history of the Supplies and Services Department.
The department was given an additional role of arranging and managing framework contracts for common use items, works and services for all MDAs. The roles and objectives of the Supplies and Services Department have been to cope with government reforms and in response to the technological advancement and market changes.
In order to deliver its services effectively and efficiently, the Supplies and Services Department was restructured to operate as a Government Executive Agency known as GPSA.