Public sector procurement is the process of acquiring goods and services for the operation of government and to provide public services. It is carried out within a specific legal framework based on certain principles aimed at making the fulfillment of public procurement requirements competitively available to qualified firms and individuals in a transparent and nondiscriminatory manner based on pre-established selection criteria. The goal of public procurement is to provide everything necessary for the operation of government and, specifically, public services to the population within a country.

Other definitions of public procurement include:

  • Purchase of commodities and contracting of construction works and services if acquisition is effected with resources from state budgets, local authority budgets, state foundation funds, domestic or foreign loans, revenue from economic activities of the
    nation (draft policy framework for public procurement in Kenya).
  •  Procurement by a public entity using public funds.

Characteristics of public sector procurement

  • Items procured range from very low value items such as pins to huge complex projects costing billions of shillings e.g Thika Highway
  • Procurement of items is effected through public funds and for public consumption.
  • Public procurement has three main pillars; legal, institutional, organizational.
  • It‘s a participatory function.
  • Complexity and bureaucracy
  • Centralized purchasing through tender systems
  • It‘s an economic tool that has impact socially, economically and politically.
  • It attracts great interest from; general public, civil society, government, private sector, professional organizations
  • Public procurement takes a large fraction (50- 60%) of the government budget.
  • Through public procurement, governments provide essential services to their citizens; education, health, infrastructure, defense etc
  • Business activity in a political, environment.
  • Involves various stakeholders: taxpayers, Consumer, Private sector , the governments
  • Non-discriminatory, equitable treatment to all bidders.
  • No corruption, collusion,
  • Accountability and transparency
  • Openness and clarity

Organization of Public procurement
Bodies involved
1. National level.

  • Government (Ministry of finance).
  • Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA)
  • Public Procurement Oversight Advisory Board
  • Public Procurement Administrative Review Board.

2. Organizational level.


  • Accounting officer
  • Tender committee
  • Procurement committee
  • Tender opening committee
  • Procurement department
  • Negotiation committees
  • User departments
  • Receiving and inspection committee
  • Disposal committee

The role of public sector procurement

  • Public procurement is effected through use of public funds (tax revenue).
  • Goods, works and services procured are consumed by the citizens, who are the tax payers.

Public procurement facilitates;

  • economic growth and development
  • poverty eradication
  • private sector development
  • trade and investment
  • Involves management of large sums of money.

• Through public procurement, the government delivers services to the citizen; builds infrastructure, provides education and health, hires consultancies etc.

Authority of public sector procurement
Public procurement draws its authority from the following;

  • The constitution ( sec 227, chapters 6, 13)
  • PPDA, 2015
  • PPDR, 2006
  • Public private partnership regulations, 2011
  • Public procurement code of ethics for procuring entities.
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