The Chief Executive Officer of the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission, Atty. Roseline Jargbe Kowo, has called on media practitioners to move into various communities to follow up on developmental projects being implemented by various companies to ensure the trust for public finance is achieved.
Speaking at a day long workshop organized by the PPCC for journalists and CSOs with funding from the United Nations Development Program in Kakata City, Margibi County, over the weekend, Atty. Kowo stressed the need for Liberian Journalists, including the Civil Society Organization actors to do fact-finding on how projects are implemented across the country.
The workshop, which brought together several media houses, including news reporters, editors, and civil society actors, was held under the theme, “Collaborating with the Media and Civil Society Groups to Enhance Public Procurement Sanitization Efforts.”
The PPCC boss also admonished investigative journalists to visit authorities of the Ministry of Public Works and other government’s procurement entities to counter check as to whether those institutions had met the set criteria as enshrined in the Public Procurement and Concession Act.
She further referred investigative reporters to the official website of the PPCC to seek more clarity about the awarding of bidding contracts to companies or visit the office of the institution in Monrovia in line with the Freedom of Information Act, adding that the office is always open to provide relevant information to everyone for transparency and accountability in the use of public funds.
Atty. Kowo, who made more emphasis on research or investigative reporting, also wants journalists and CSOs to track ongoing projects within the counties to report fact driven stories, stressing that the citizens solely depend on whatever information that is published by the media.
The PPCC Chief Executive Officer believes the tracking of ongoing developmental projects by media and CSO actors helps in job creation for thousands of citizens across the country and makes sure that people are in full compliance of the PPCA, noting that it is equally important for journalists to question companies about their social corporate responsibilities to communities in which they are operating.
At the same time, the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission through its CEO, Atty. Kowo vowed to build the capacity of media practitioners and civil society actors in the procurement sector, adding that the institution under her watch, will continue engaging journalists, including CSOs to help them base their reportage on professionalism.
She further indicated that as the PPCC sustains partnership and interactions with the media and CSOs, the PPCC stands to benefit many things, including citizens’ trust and support.
Atty. Kowo also named the assurance of ownership, promoting accountability, legitimizing the processes, and leading to citizens’ ownership, quality assurance, business attraction, and trust in Liberia’s procurement system among others.
Also representing the Press Union of Liberia, the Editor-in-Chief of the Heritage Newspaper, Augustus D. R. Bortue stressed that media sometimes gives information to the public with a question mark, due to difficulties faced by journalists to get information regarding procurement matters from relevant authorities.
Bortue further said the knowledge acquired from the training will help in the fight against corruption across the country, noting that the workshop will also help Journalists to report unbiased news stories.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia, Anderson Miamen stressed the need to do much more collectively to improve accountability, transparency in the country, adding that it is also key to constructively engaging national stakeholders to ensure the value of money in the public space through procurement.
The CENTAL boss further termed public procurement as an integral factor in the governance process of the country.
In remarks, the Secretary General of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia, Jeremiah Swen, encouraged the PPCC to conduct an annual award ceremony for institutions that are in full compliance of public procurement policy; something he believes will stick the feet of other government institutions to the fire.
Swen also called on the PPCC to create a bi-annual stakeholders engagement, so as to help the media and CSOs understand the policy and ensure full compliance of this national policy.
He lauded the PPCC, under the leadership of Atty. Roseline Jargbe Kowo,for consistently engaging both the media and CSOs in the interest of the country.