Youth, women and PWD not taking up public tenders- CS Kobia

Treasury also dealt away with the categorisation of tenders to reduce discrimination

In Summary

• Only seven per cent of government tenders are awarded to women, youth and persons with disabilities.

• Public service and youth CS Margaret Kobia attributed said the low uptake to lack of information on AGPO certification procedures and enough funds for enterprises to produce to capacity.

Public Service CS Prof. Margaret Kobia. /EZEKIEL AMING'A
Public Service CS Prof. Margaret Kobia. /EZEKIEL AMING'A

Only seven per cent of government tenders are awarded to women, youth and persons with disabilities.

According to public service and youth CS Margaret Kobia, as at June 2018 and fourth year of the implementation of Access to Government Procurement Opportunities, only Sh73 billion was awarded to the said beneficiaries.

AGPO is anchored in the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015 to increase financial inclusivity and grow enterprises belonging to women, youth and people with disabilities.

The move required state agencies to award at least 30 per cent to the disadvantaged groups, unlocking approximately Sh250 billion annually.

“The collective performance of public entities in complying with the public procurement Act has not led to the full realization of the potential benefits of the policy to the entities,” Kobia said.

It also spells out that at least 70 per cent of a company must be owned by one of the special interest groups before it qualifies for an AGPO tender.

Kobia attributed said the low uptake to lack of information on AGPO certification procedures and enough funds for enterprises to produce to capacity.

Kobia spoke during the inaugural supplier diversity summit by Kenya Private Sector Alliance aimed at closing the gap at the private businesses arena.

She said the government had expanded the access of these services to county commissioners, Huduma and youth of empowerment centres as well as the public service office.

This month, the Treasury also dealt away with the categorisation of tenders to reduce discrimination of awarding tenders.

Treasury CS Henry Rotich said the AGPO certificates for general supplies, fresh produce and agricultural produce, professional services and consultancy,  ICT services and small works and engineering hinder registered enterprises not under the categories from tendering.

The government spends at least 28 per cent of GDP on goods and services.

However, according to Kepsa chairman Nick Nesbitt , the low uptake is the AGPO is the reason why most Kenyans don't feel the 6.3 per cent growth posted by the country last year.

“The supplier diversity summit will spearhead best supply chain practices, give an opportunity for competitive advantage and community engagement that comes from working more closely with a broader range of local and minority suppliers,” Nesbitt said.

The summit will also encourage board diversity in both government and private sector boardrooms.