Magazine article International Trade Forum

Developing Purchasing Association Services: Uganda's Experience

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Developing Purchasing Association Services: Uganda's Experience

Article excerpt

The Procurement and Logistics Management Association (PALMA) was launched in January 1995, and now has over 200 members. Seeking to overcome key problems in the procurement chain in Uganda, it has concentrated on building competence among purchasing professionals in the public and private sector by providing training, consultancy and information services.

Challenges

PALMA seeks to address key problems such as high import costs (Uganda is a landlocked country some 1,200 kilometres from the nearest port); the low quality of imported goods; unreliable supply sources; long lead times; and inadequate handling and warehousing. It also tries to promote the professionalization of the procurement function within enterprises and other organizations in order to improve competitiveness.

Activities

Among our activities:

* The preparation of the Buyer's Guide -- a handbook for Ugandan importers and exporters.

* Short-term training events for middle-and high-level purchasing and supply practitioners in both the public and private sectors.

* Preparation and dissemination of import management briefs to importers through the Uganda Importers, Exporters and Traders Association.

Growing through training

One of PALMA's key activities is to design a range of training activities. Since 1996 we have trained approximately 360 private and public sector practitioners on a variety of international purchasing matters. Training can come in a variety of forms:

* Training of trainers.

* Professional courses.

* Educational events in collaboration with academic institutions.

* In-house programmes in selected enterprises.

PALMA has developed special tools for assessing training needs and evaluating training events. The training events are supported by public procurement training manuals and by other tools such as ITC's 'Modular Learning System'.

To date, PALMA has organized three annual conferences. The latest, in March 2000, was on the subject of 'Corruption Risks in Procurement in Uganda Today'. It attracted 92 participants from the private and the public sectors, as well as students and Uganda policy-makers. This event was widely covered by the press, and resulted in a series of anti-corruption measures being taken.

PALMAs success is due to its team of instructors and consultants, all of whom are recognized specialists in their fields, as well as its strong network. …

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