Minister Slunteh, in a remark during a ceremony marking the dedication of a renovated classroom for students of the Financial Management Training Program (FMTP), said procurement is cardinal in both the public and private sectors, and that it is important to have trained people who will follow ethical standards to avoid wastage and abuse of resources.
Minister Slunteh observed that the resources in Liberia are able to benefit all Liberians, but the manner in which they are managed would leave some marginalized.
“The resources of this country can benefit all of us, and it is important that procurement be done in compliance with ethics and law so that every Liberian will have a taste of them and not to benefit just few persons, he stressed.
By ethical standard and lawful procedure, Minister Slunteh said those undergoing the Intensive Procurement Training Program at the Financial Management Training Program will be well guided and will not engage in acts that will misdirect resources to other use of no public benefit.
Ethics is a moral principle or framework of what is good and bad. Its application in procurement process enhances fairness in public finance management that durable materials are procured at affordable prices.
Contrary to ethical and legal procedures, procurement managers do connive with entrepreneurs and go about overstating costs of materials, providing document bearing the overstated amounts, but paying less while diverted the remainder of the disbursed funds into personal use.
Minister Slunteh, in an exclusive interview with Daily Observer Business Reporter after the ceremony, said the 25 students undergoing the Procurement training are ambassadors who should go out and set examples that people will follow and not to allow wastage and financial abuse in workplaces.
“Anything that is not ethical and legal should not be done, and if it is not ethical and legal, do not do it,” he encouraged the students.
Minister Slunteh added that wastage and abuse in public financial management system must be eliminated because if not, few will continue to benefit from the resources while the majority continuously lives in abject poverty.
“Wastage and financial abuse must stop; what we do today has an adverse effect on the future generation, therefore, let us do what will be good example that all Liberians will feel the impact of this economy,” he stressed.
Making a reference, Minister Slunteh noted that even if it is vehicles for officials of government or managers in private sector, the purchasing process must be in compliance with the Public Procurement Law.
“I do not care who the official is and how he/she is pressurizing you, do not adhere to the pressure if the request is not in line with ethic and the law,” he noted.
Civil Service Director, William Allen, who also spoke at the occasion, asserted that it was disappointing to him that many young Liberians who should uphold the future of this country lack patriotism.
He said such an area like procurement is a place people show how well they love their country, but contrary to that, every man is selfish and can only seek what will benefit him/her and not the welfare of other compatriots.
The Director of the Financial Management Training Program, Aagon Tingban for his part, indicated that there was inadequate procurement capacity of many senior public officials assigned with procurement responsibilities and procurement officers, which he said poses a major challenge to the successful implementation of the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) Act revised in 2010 and government development agenda.
He added that Liberia’s past civil crisis largely contributed to the complete loss of public procurement policies, practices, and procedures, as well as the skills of practitioners and institutions.
He stated the aim of the Financial Management Training Program as an initiative to outline government’s approach to building procurement capacity and increase the level of professionalism among procurement staffs within civil service through various training modalities.
He indicated that the diploma of this training program in Finance is awarded by the University of Liberia, and it accounts for 36 graduate credits hours against the University of Liberia’s 51 required credit hours for Graduate degree.
Also speaking at the program on Procurement, the Team Leader of the Intensive Procurement Training Program and Lead Public Procurement Senior Expert, Gaetan Gobeil stressed that procurement managers have to be guided by objectives and principles like any other profession.
He named fairness, transparency, integrity, best value for money, and delivery of quality quantity at affordable price at the right time as some principles that are considered in procurement.