The Science of Public Procurement and Administration. International Public Procurement Conference

Robert Agwot Komakech


This paper reviewed Benon C. Basheka book’s chapter on the Science of Public Procurement and Administration published by International Public Procurement Conference in 2013. The objective of the review was to expand on the origin of procurement, highlight the areas that make public procurement discipline to be an art or science and make recommendations for policy makers and researchers. The author found that public procurement is still at its infant stage with little known theory though it has a close relationship with public administration. Although public procurement has existed from the time man started trade, procurement was chaotic and disorganized since there was nothing unethical or illegal about receiving kickbacks from contractors. The author also found that, procurement had no regulations until 1792 when US Congress passed procurement legislation. The major procurement between 300 B.C-3000 B.C was construction of roads, bridges, railway networks and supplies of foodstuffs, army uniforms and fighting equipments. The study also reveals procurement as a blend of art and science because it is both a theoretical field and an area of practice. The theoretical field (art) is concerned with the teaching or academic study while the practice (science) deals with the day to day activities of procuring and disposing entities. The author, therefore recommends scholars to conduct empirical studies among procurement researchers, lecturers and practitioners in relation to the field procurement should belong to so as to have consensus on procurement field/discipline as it was done with procurement meaning. Finally, since there is no consensus between public and private procurement agenda; it means procurement is not a pure science but it is an art and science.

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