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The Nana Akufo-Addo government has been able to save the state a whopping amount of GH₵1.9 billion due to the tightening of the public procurement space, which prevented procurement malpractices.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Adjenim Boateng Adjei, who announced this, cited a number of procurement malpractices which the authority uncovered in the processes leading to the saving of the GH₵1.9 billion.
He mentioned a bid tender suppression, complementary bidding and bid tender rotation, which allows competitors to arrange to win contracts in turns, as well as collusion, as some of the malpractices uncovered.
According to him, a number of initiatives have been put in place under his watch to combat procurement fraud.
He noted that the amount of money freed, which would be used to finance other areas of the economy, were carried out within a space of 21 months, between April 2017 and December 2018.
Addressing the media at the Ministry of Information’s Meet the Press Series in Accra yesterday, he said a lot of purpose-driven initiatives have been introduced to enhance value addition to the authority’s operations.
He announced that his outfit has established a Special Procurement Investigation Unit to conduct random investigations into the procurement activities of entities.
Among the anomalies uncovered in the investigations conducted so far are bid and tender rigging, which is collusion among tenderers.
The meeting was to address the nation on some of the programmes and activities of the PPA, as well as other critical issues confronting the PPA as far as its operations and communications with the general public in recent times are concerned.
On the issue of whether the NPP government has gotten rid of sole-sourcing or single sourcing procurement after raising several complaints about the practice during the erstwhile President John Mahama administration, he noted that the concern of NPP at the time was the wanton abuses associated with single sourcing, and not that single sourcing itself should be removed from the law.
He noted that it was impossible for any procurement regime around the world to do away with sole sourcing, adding that the NPP promised to control the abuses of single sourcing under the then Mahama’s administration.
In 2017, he said, there were 420 applications for single sourcing, of which 236 were approved and 184 rejected.
Restrictive tendering in that year, he said, were 372 applications: 174 approved and 198 rejected.
In 2018, single sourcing applications were 511, with 409 approved and 103 rejected.
In the same year, 386 were made for restricted tendering, with 261 approved and 125 rejected.
Initiatives to be rolled out
Mr Adjei announced that the e-Government Procurement System, known as GHANEPS, is currently running live with five procurement entities; namely, the Ghana Health Service, Department of Feeder Roads, Koforidua Technical University, COCOBOD, and Tema Municipal Assembly participating in its pilot.
He also disclosed that in line with recent trends in public procurement reforms, the authority will soon issue guidance on the need for negotiations to establish the ‘Best and Final Offer’ (BAFO) procedures, the Bid Declaration and Gender Mainstreaming Initiatives in Public Procurement.
The BAFO procedure in procurement is a multi-stage procurement process in which an entity invites bidders and proposers that have submitted substantially responsive bids and proposals to submit their best and final offer.
“In fulfilment of Goals 5 and 12 of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, which seeks to attain Gender Equality and Sustainable Production and Consumption, this initiative will be designed to set aside particular products, services and works for 12 marginalised groups in society in order to promote socially sustainable procurement and development in the country,” he said.
Despite the initiatives to save the country money, Mr Adjei said all is not rosy at the authority as it battles financial challenges.
“As an authority, we are faced with a myriad of challenges as far as our operations are concerned. For instance, the lack of funding for our programmes and activities, and the delays experienced with fund releases even where prior approval for government funds have been secured result in delays in programme implementation and the performance of critical regulatory functions.
“The authority has had to depend on donor funds to run most of our programmes within the dictates of the donors’ terms and pace,” he said.
According to him, the allocation to the authority to carry out its regulatory functions has been grossly inadequate over the years.
The GoG’s allocation to the authority to carry out its regulatory functions per Section 3 of the Public Procurement Act 2003, (Act 663), he added, has been grossly inadequate over the years.
“Indeed, it is quite worrying that a regulatory body with a mandate to protect the public purse through effective monitoring of the various procurement processes and procedures to ensure compliance and attainment of value for money could be established without a corresponding statutory fund allocation for its operations,” he lamented.
Source: John Elliot HAGAN || The Finder, Accra