Globally, public procurement has turn out to be an issue of public attention and debate, and now being subjected to reforms, restructuring, rules and regulations (Onchweri & Muturi, 2015). Many countries both developed and least developed have instituted procurement reforms involving laws and regulations. The major obstacle however, has been inadequate regulatory compliance. Crowder (2015) confirm that non-compliance problem affects not only the third world countries but also countries in the European Union. Onyinkwa (2014) who contend that compliance in public procurement is still a major issue further supports this position.
While analysing procurement issues in Malaysia (Shu Hui et al. 2011) established that procurement officers were blamed for malpractice and noncompliance to the procurement policies and procedures. Magutu, Njihia & Mose (2013) noted that for decades procurement performance has continued to attract great attention from practitioners, academicians and researchers owing to poor performance due to non-adherence to proper processes and procedures.
Public entities’ operations in Kenya have become inefficient and non-profitable necessitating the Government to shoulder major procurement burdens (Koech, K.
, & Namusonge, 2015). Attaining efficiency in public procurement is an ambitious task since procurement is faced with numerous challenges, specifically due to the market structure, the legal framework and the political environment that purchasers face (?zbilgin & Imamo?lu, 2011). In a study carried out on governance problems within government agency in Kenya, specific characteristics emerged as follows: inefficiency in operations, huge financial losses and delivery of poor products and services (Mokogi et al., 2015). The writer attributed this to poor governance, inefficient public sector financial management, bureaucratic wastage and pilferage in the management of public entities leading to heavy budgetary burden to the public.
There are reports on wastefulness with the entire or part of the procurement process, which are also said to subsequently hamper successful implementation of public entitys projects. This failure is widely attributed to unproductive management of the procurement function. The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act 2015 provides a standardized framework for the procurement of goods and services across all public sector entities. This one-size fits all approach has created challenges for many Government Owned entities.
A review conducted by the PPRA (former PPOA), while recognizing some strengths, identified a number of challenges including the cost of the procurement process, the long time to procure or reaction time to business opportunities, challenges of negotiation with suppliers, external approval processes and the issue of resale of branded items (Odero & Ayub, 2017). It is noted that on this challenges no study has been done on whether procurement function is fully equipped in terms of staff competencies and ICT skills to handle procurement in the most effective and efficient way. Therefore, there is a need to carry out a study to establish the factors influencing performance of procurement functions while relating it to KAA, which is a public entity in Kenya because of the highlighted deficiencies. Further still, in spite of having various studies undertaken on procurement practices by various researchers, none of the studies have particularly addressed the factors influencing performance of procurement function relating to Kenya Airport Authority. This has created a significant knowledge gap; and therefore forms the basis for this study.