Compliance with record-keeping regulatory standards in public procurement in Uganda: Performance challenges and strategic measures for improvement
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Record-keeping is widely underscored for its crucial role in enhancing transparency, accountability, fostering procurement audits, identifying performance gaps and ultimately improving the delivery of public services. In Uganda, record-keeping in public procurements is highly emphasized and institutionalized. The Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA) Act of 2003 and the Local Government Procurement and Disposal of Assets Regulations of 2006 deﬁne a regulatory framework for public procurements with the PPDA Authority providing regulatory oversight. The target is to realize 100 percent compliance with record-keeping standards. The accounting ofﬁcers and the PPDA Authority are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that this target is met. Capacity building has been instituted and continues to be implemented as a key strategic measure to enhance compliance. The Authority conducts periodic compliance assessments to ascertain compliance with the desired regulatory standards inclusive of record-keeping. Availability and completeness of records indicates transparency in public procurements and also determines performance on other indicators that detect adherence to procurement principles of accountability and value for money. Drawing from literature, this article presents an overview on the trend of compliance with recordkeeping standards, vis-a-vis the measures implemented to enhance compliance. From this, the authors establish a persistent and deteriorating state of non-compliance with record-keeping regulatory standards in public procurements over the 2009-2012 period. Non-compliance persists despite the remarkable efforts to build capacity for compliance in the Procurement and Disposing Entities (PDEs). It raises concern over the relevance and quality of training provided to stakeholders. Drawing insights from the Human Capital, Principal Agent and Institutional theories, the authors provide a theoretical perspective in an attempt to account for this persistent non-compliance. Based on the theoretical underpinnings, the study opens insight into critical factors which can be further investigated in an attempt to create a precise account of non-compliance with procurement regulations, particularly with regard to record-keeping standards that are worst affected.