A stakeholders meeting for the final discussion on views so far collated on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo directive for 30 per cent of the 70 per cent local content in procurement to be given to women, youth and persons with disability, on Monday took place in Accra.
As a prelude to the meeting, the Ministry of Public Sector Procurement had solicited inputs from various stakeholders and made mass media announcements inviting inputs of the general public, which have been put together for the discussions.
Opening the meeting, Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo, the Minister of State in charge of Public Procurement, lauded the directive, and urged participants to actively take part in the discussion for the meeting to come out with a “fit for purpose policy.”
On the assumption of power President Akufo-Addo set up the Ministry in 2017 to bring more sanity in public procurement, which had been identified, according to the Minister, as “veritable arena for corruption.”
She noted previous legislation as the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663); and Act 914 as amended, the Public Financial Management Act, 216 (ACT 921) and the Financial Administration Regulation, which were meant to make the misappropriation of public funds unattractive, but added however that, people still “bend over backwards to manipulate the system and loot the state.”
Ms Safo stated that the objectives of the new policy are to ensure inclusiveness, bring reforms in state procurement, address resistance and to build capacities. According to the Minister, the President’s mantra of ‘Ghana beyond Aid’ would actualize if “we adopt and implement the right policies and take the necessary decisions,” adding that, the Ministry of Public Sector Procurement exists to play an advisory role to the President on matters on public procurement.
It is also to formulate policies, based on the President’s vision.
The Minister bemoaned the wanton abuse of sole sourcing and restrictive tendering as a method of procurement, and informed the meeting of the Ministry’s visits to some of the high spending state agencies and institutions to learn of how they went about their procurement activities, following which the Ministry gave advice on achieving transparency, efficiency and value for money in their procurements.
She said to avoid litigations with the Government for claims of judgment debts, the Ministry last year sent a written caveat to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies to stop the abrogation of contracts and refer all such matters to her office for advice.
Ms Safo, who is also the Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament; and MP for Dome Kwabenya, said the issue of shoddy jobs and unnecessary delay of government contracts have now become a major canker in the development agenda of the state.
“Government spends huge sums of money awarding contracts hoping to achieve value for money for projects when they are completed, but rather sadly, the state in most cases is slapped with shoddy works and in a twinkle of an eye those heavily invested project suffer the torrents of collapse and deterioration,” the Minister said.
She announced that her office is in the process of developing a database for contractors, consultants and suppliers, who bid for government contracts and also develop a software that will assess the performance of all such contractors, and those who appear to meet the performance criterion will be motivated with more contracts.
“Those who fail will be blacklisted,” the Minister warned.
She gave thumbs up to the President on the 30 per cent for the youth, women and persons with disability of the 70 per cent local content policy, saying that, “the policy is a pragmatic action worthy of emulation and introduction into our procurement system.”