The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) has acted against Executive Order No.2 that was made by President Bio immediately he assumed office in order to curtail wasteful spending.
This was revealed by the recently published Audit Report which maintained that the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) accepted quotation of bids in foreign currencies and signed contract in foreign currencies.
That the ministry accepted quotations in foreign currency which was in United State Dollars for the procurement of motorcycles.
The audit also noted that despite the fact that the contract sum in US Dollars was converted to Leones during the bid evaluation stage, the cost of the signed contract with the successful bidder was quoted in US Dollars.
Going by Executive Order No. 2 which aims at improving expenditure management and control, the President Bio led administration believed that it will ensure the reduction of wasteful and unproductive expenditures.
Executive Order No. 2 under Public Procurement states that in line with section 23 of the Bank of Sierra Leone Act 2011, prices for contracts shall be quoted and payable only in the local currency. Government contracts would henceforth be awarded in the local currency. With this measure, all contracts that were earlier negotiated in US$ are now to be paid in the local currency.
Responding, the ministry stated that payment is made in Leones and not in foreign currency and that it is spelt out in the contract.
That they used the International Competitive bidding and therefore had to make provision for bidders outside of Sierra Leone, adding that contracts can be awarded in foreign currency but make payment in Leones.
They also stated that section V (GCC Clause 16.1) of the bid document stated that payment of foreign currency portion shall be made in Leones and that the exchange rate shall be that of prevailing selling price at the Central Bank.
The Auditor demanded that the Permanent Secretary (PS) at the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) should provide a valid explanation for disregarding the Bank of Sierra Leone Act of 2019.
She also warned that the PS must in future ensure that laws, regulations and orders are adhered to when making contractual decisions.
She stated that the response from the ministry is in conflict with provisions of both the Bank of Sierra Leone Act of 2019 and the Executive Order No. 2, noting that the issue remains unresolved.