All procurement professionals in Kenya must now go back to class to acquire certification following the enactment of a new law, which makes it mandatory for supply chain officers to be licensed. Those who violate the new requirement face a fine or a term in jail.
The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act (2015) — which took effect in January this year(2016) — requires all practising purchasing officers to hold professional qualifications on top of their academic papers.
Those in the supply chain management field must now sit for either the Associate in Procurement and Supply of Kenya (APS-K) or the Certified Procurement and Supply Professional of Kenya (CPSP-K) examinations offered by the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board (Kasneb).
The Kenya Institute of Supplies Management, the regulatory body for procurement experts, warned that those found practising without the necessary qualifications risk a Sh100,000 fine and a two-year jail term.
“It is mandatory for persons practising procurement and supply management in Kenya to hold professional qualifications and this is the first local professional certification programme in Kenya,” said KISM chairman Chris Oanda,.
“This is the locally recognised qualification that will serve as criteria for admission of professionals into the practice,” said Mr Oanda in an interview with Smart Company.
The new requirement means graduates of degree or diploma programmes in purchasing and supplies management or any other relevant course, will have to sit for professional exams before joining the procurement league.
Mr Oanda said 350 candidates sat for the procurement exams in May, and expects more to register in the November/ December exams cycle in order to qualify for a practising licence.
KISM had about 3,000 members before the new law, and these professionals will now have to sit specialised exams and undergo fresh vetting before being issued with practising permits.
There are also plans to allow graduates to convert their qualifications through exemptions and examinations before being certified to practise procurement and supply chain management in Kenya, Mr Oanda said.
The professional body said the new procurement exams are currently undergoing accreditation by the International Federation of Purchasing and Supplies Management to ensure that the Kenyan qualifications meet universal standards and are globally recognised.
KISM is banking on the new statute to redeem the image of procurement officials, who are emerging as the face of corruption in Kenya. They have been accused of perpetrating tendering scandals both in the public and private sectors.
The new exams put procurement officials in a similar league with other professions such as accountants, financial analysts, lawyers, pharmacists, medical laboratory technicians, and nurses who sit specialised tests before they are allowed to practise.
The APS-K is a diploma level certification designed to equip candidates with the ability to support procurement processes in small and mid-sized enterprises, the members’ body said. It has two levels, each with five examinable modules.
The CPSP-K is a higher level professional qualification, designed to prepare procurement professionals to perform mid-level and senior-level duties such as buyers, managers, supervisors, directors, and as well as consultants.
A study by the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority shows that Kenya’s State agencies buy goods at an average of 60 per cent above the prevailing market price, making it an avenue for corruption.
Unexplained delays, favouritism, exaggerated price projections, splitting of contracts for similar goods and works, are some of the most common indicators of graft in procurement, according to the industry regulator.
Tendering fraud has overtaken bribery and corruption to be ranked Kenya’s fastest growing form of economic crime, a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government is battling multiple tender headwinds as fat cats fight for a piece of Kenya’s big ticket contracts in education, railway, road, ports and real estate.
By DAVID HERBLING in the Daily Nation 19th July 2016