Local government procurement practitioners need to recognise the inextricable link between good governance, accountability and long term socio-economic development.
Many people on the entire African continent are frustrated and angry.
High unemployment, almost stagnant economic growth, poor quality service delivery, a decreasing standard of living, and limited resources for infrastructure upgrades, are all increasing levels of upset across the continent.
To address some of the challenges facing an increasingly irritated population, the continent's local government procurement practitioners must recognise supply and value chain accountability and governance as a potential solution - and begin applying them within their respective functional areas, which will improve organisational performance, industrial competitiveness and the quality of public sector service delivery.
However, before a culture of supply chain accountability and good governance can be successfully adapted at local government procurement level, sector procurers need to have a change in mind-set and attitude. They must become process driven and clearly understand how to manage risks. They must take full responsibility for their respective actions, avoid self-pity and the blame game, continually upskill themselves, have a strong respect for the law and wish to make a difference in their respective institutions, communities and society at large.
With such a mind-set change and associated boost in confidence, local government procurement practitioners will be in a better position to lobby a change in reporting structures plus take full functional responsibility to ensure acquisitions are not based purely on price, but rather geared towards supporting local industrialisation and socio-economic development.
In becoming more development-driven in their thinking, practitioners can act as catalysts for long-term supplier relationship management and development, and job and wealth generation, as opposed to being enablers of the current short-term price-chiselling and cost-gains agendas held by other functional areas, policies and decision makers.
Not only will an accountability and governance-focused local government procurement provide greater opportunities for improvements in public- and private-sector service delivery quality. It will also help to contribute more effectively to industrialisation, significantly reduce long-term joblessness, increase local and regional trade, create wealth and quantifiably reduce poverty levels.
The time has come for local government procurement practitioners across emerging economies like South Africa to reassess their respective job descriptions and associated roles to enable them to successfully implement accountability and governance-driven policies, processes and systems at personal, professional and institutional levels. By each adapting an "I-can" versus an "I-can't" attitude they can collectively and proudly begin to take full responsibility for their strategic and development-driven procurement decisions in support of long-term socio-economic development.
By Professor Douglas Boateng, Africa's first ever appointed Professor Extraordinaire for supply and value chain management
Published by Smart Procurement World, a Division of Commerce Edge: Your Public and Private Sector Supply Chain Management Competence Delivery Partner