Saelea hits out at MAL abuse claim

Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock Permanent Secretary Jimmy Saelea.

Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock Permanent Secretary Jimmy Saelea.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) has maintained that it has at all times ensures compliance with the requirements of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and other subsidiary legislations which includes Financial Instructions (FI) that provides general procurement limits.

Permanent Secretary Jimi Saelea made the clarification when responding to a front page article of the Island Sun newspaper’s Issue 2490 headlined; ‘MAL ABUSE-corrupt activities exposed in agriculture-livestock Ministry’s procurement processes’.

 “Just to clarify the front page piece by Ben Bilua on MAL’s Procurement Process, on the outset it is quite confusing for the reader to grasp the subject of conversation,” Mr Saelea said.

“The ‘well-placed source’ does not fully understand the government’s procurement processes, let alone MAL’s accounting system,” he added.

“Next time, the reporter should come and see us to double check the information before putting such self-contradicting pieces for public consumption.”

Mr Saelea highlighted some aspects of the Government’s procurement process which some may need to know:

  • Part of MAL process is to ensure compliance with the requirements of the PFM Act and subsidiary legislations and this includes the Financial Instructions (FI) which provides general procurement limits as follows:
  1. Procurement Less than $10,000 – 1 genuine quotation is required
  2. $10,000 to $100,000 – 3 genuine quotations are required
  3. $100,000 to $500,000 – Tender Bids and MTB consideration
  4. Above $500,000 is CTB jurisdiction based on public tender process.
  • Both 3 and 4 above will require compliance checks with MoFT before any signing and any agreements done jointly signed by MAL and MoFT.
  • For 1 & 2, this goes through our compliance checks too. As part of internal controls, Directors have a say in ensuring that the payments are made in accordance with their work plans thus they request through the PS as the Accountable Officer for approval/endorsement before payments are processed and raised by MoFT.
  • Orders for items and equipment for provincial offices, we ensure that the orders are made in instalments over a period of time according to Procurement Plans to ensure there is control over the usage.

On projects, Mr Saelea explained that the Chief Field Officers (CFO) have a lot of say in the decision outcome.

“CFO’s and his staff are well involved in the identification and processing of project forms at the provincial level.

“They have to make visits to the sites and make recommendations before the Project Screening Committee (PROSCO) makes a final decision.

“PROSCO is a combination of technical persons especially Directors who have control over budget allocations.”

Mr Saelea stated projects approved in general are based on available funds and allocations per province thus as much as possible, MAL tries to ensure many rural farmers as possible have access to the assistance provided.

“Sometimes, the close of the financial year will result in approved projects not funded but re-considered in the following year

“I hope this clarifies MAL procurement process as well as educate the ‘well-placed source’ to ensure factual information is fed to the public,” Mr Saelea said.

-MAL Press