KAMPALA – The government has put restrictions on approval of variations, change orders, contract amendments to government procurement contracts across the country.
A letter signed by Attorney General Mr Kiryowa Kiwanuka addressed to all accounting officers in the country says that the government has noted with concern that the variations, change orders, and addenda are usually an abuse of the procurement law and process by individuals within public entities in collusion with service providers.
The letter dated 17 August adds that the government has also seen a contract amended six times and the contract price increased by 110% and that they have come to a conclusion that the practice is a manifestation of a systematic problem due to poor planning.
The letter seen by PML Daily says the practice undermines the principle of the economy, efficiency and value for money as enshrined in section 48 of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public assets Act 2003 [as amended].
Mr Kiwanuka also says that the practice betrays a propensity by accounting officers to commit the government outside the approved budget hence a violation of the later and spirit of section 14  of the Public Finance Management Act, 2015 ]as amended].
He adds that it is therefore no wonder that significant percentage of breach of contract [Non-payment]-related litigation which his office handles in any given year is traceable to change orders and contract variations.
“Therefore, in exercise of the mandate of this office under Article 119  [a] of the constitution, I hereby advise that once a procurement has been reviewed, approved by his office, and subsequently executed by a procuring and disposing entity, I should not be subject to variations, change orders, amendments etc unless exceptional and justifiable circumstances exist,” reads the letter in part copied to Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Permanent secretaries, Solicitor general, Prime Minis ter and executive director PPDA etc.
Mr Kiwanuka’s letter says that any submission to his office which does not meet “exceptional and justifiable” test and “which shall not be supported by evidence that the extra funds to be expended are part of the approved Budge, will be rejected”.
He further advises procuring and disposing entities to ensure proper planning and accurate determination of the scope and details of works, supplies and services to be procured before contract execution.