SA companies should seek more UN business Back


SA companies should seek more UN business Back

South African businesses have been encouraged to increase their participation in the United Nations (UN) procurement processes. UN Procurement Division Field Procurement Service chief Sean Purcell pointed out recently that the amount of goods bought by the UN from South African companies declined from 2009 to 2012, increased in 2013 and decreased again in 2014

Currently, 988 South African companies are registered to do business with the world body. “How come South Africa companies aren’t winning contracts?” he queried. “I really don’t know.” The UN does not yet have a system that collects the statistics necessary to do such an analysis. “You have to register to be known to the UN,” he explained. “It costs nothing, zero, zilch, to register. It takes 20 minutes online. There is no fee. So, get registered.

SA companies should seek more UN business Jaresh Maharaj The UN does not have a centralised procurement system. The UN Secretariat and the UN specialised agencies do their own procurement, as their needs and timescales vary enormously. Last year, the biggest procurer from South African suppliers was the UN Procurement Division (amounting to $69.4-million) followed by the World Food Programme. As for the UN Secretariat, 90% of the business it placed in South Africa in 2014 was accounted for by a single contract for air transport services. The UN system, as a whole, needs virtually all kinds of goods and services available. Major goods procured are food, pharmaceutical supplies, vehicles (armoured and unarmoured), computers and software, shelter and housing, telecommunications equipment, laboratory equipment, chemicals (including petrol, oil and lubricants), building supplies and security equipment. Major services procured are air charter services, security services, engineering services, construction, freight services, consultancy services and telecommunication services. Air charter services cover both helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft and, in the latter category, turboprops and jets (all the way up to, and including, Boeing 767s). The UN spends $2.4-billion a year on air charters. After a successful pilot project, the world body is adopting a policy of putting out air charter requirements and letting the bidding companies propose how to meet those requirements, instead of specifying (as before) the types and numbers of aircraft it wants. “In peacekeeping, most money in peacekeeping operations is spent in the first two years,” he reported. “That’s when there’s construction. After that, it’s maintenance.” Purcell’s unit is based at the UN headquarters in New York. But a major satellite office has been set up in the Ugandan capital of Entebbe with 26 staff. “While [the head office] might be 5 000, 6 000 miles away, we have a big office in Entebbe. It’s in the same time zone [as South Africa],” he pointed out. “We’re doing as much as we can to help companies.” Peacekeeping falls under the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Currently, there are 16 active peacekeeping operations and one special political mission. These are in the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South-East Europe and South Asia. In alphabetical order, these are Minurso, in the Western Sahara; Minusca, in the Central African Republic; Minusma, in Mali; Minustah, in Haiti; Monusco, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Unamid, in Darfur (Sudan); Undof, on the Golan Heights (Israel-Syria); Unficyp, in Cyprus; Unifil, in Lebanon; Unisfa, in Abyei (Sudan); Unmik, in Kosovo; Until, in Liberia; Unmiss, in South Sudan; Unmogip, in Kashmir (monitoring the India-Pakistan ceasefire line); Unoci, in Côte d’Ivoire; and Untso in the Middle East. The special political mission is the UN Assistance Mission, in Afghanistan. Purcell was addressing the Denel Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Conference 2015 in Pretoria.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor