Perceptions of public procurement practices by engineering consultancy firms in Kenya
Gichuru, Winfred Wambui
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Public procurement has a key role to play in the promotion and development of local industries and sectors. Despite the fact that public procurement is becoming a popular technique in empowerment of local businesses such as the local engineering consulting firms there are various challenges that the firms perceive as barriers in their quest to access public procurement opportunities. The main objective of the study was to determine and assess the perceptions of the public procurement processes by the engineering consulting firms. The study targeted the senior managers of engineering consultancy firms as well as the road authorities’ procurement managers who were the key informants. The study adopted the descriptive research design survey where the primary data from the engineering consulting firms was collected using questionnaires whilst interview guides were used in interviews with the key informants, the road authorities’ procurement managers. The collected data was then analysed using descriptive statistics analysis techniques to determine the distribution and dispersion of the different variables whereas content analysis approach was used in the review of documents and manuals as well as the interviews with the road authorities’ procurement managers. From the findings, the elements of the public procurement practices in procuring of consultancy services were identified and also revealed the perceptions of the practices, evaluation criteria and the public procurement performance that had positive and negative influence in the participation of public procurement by the engineering firms. The key result of the study is that it generates explanatory theory on the barriers to public procurement thereby acting as a guidance to engineering consulting firms, the government and policy makers to collaborate in design programs and formulate procurement policies that will facilitate and stimulate the growth and development of the local engineering consulting firms and hence help in improving their growth and development. The insights from this study can also contribute towards ongoing discussions on the significance of public procurement policy on small and medium sized enterprises development. Additional research is needed to improve the existing body of knowledge about SME-friendly procurement practices especially within the knowledge based industries.