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General News of Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Source: Kasapa FM

NDC MP grills Agric Minister over GHC10 million fall armyworm insecticide deal

Food and Agriculture Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Tuesday, came under intense public scrutiny over the procurement method he used in buying insecticides to fight the fall army worms that recently invaded some farms in the country and destroyed millions of foodstuffs.

Due to the emergency nature of the situation, the Agric Minister did not subject the contract of procuring the insecticides worth GH?9,998,996 to competitive tendering method but instead, used single-source procurement method.

Section 40 (1) (c) of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) states that “where owing to a catastrophic event, there is an urgent need for the goods, works or technical services, making it impractical to use any other methods of procurement because of the time involved in using those methods.”

However, the use of the single-source procurement method by the immediate past National Democratic Congress (NDC) government was heavily criticized by the current New Patriotic Party (NPP) government then in opposition for abusing the said method.

Appearing before Parliament on behalf of the Sector Minister over the issue, Dr. Sagre Bambangi, deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, told Members that the single-source method used by the Ministry arose as a result of the urgency nature of the issue.

“Mr. Speaker, considering the urgency of the situation and the impact on food security and farm families, the Hon. Minister submitted memorandum to the Cabinet for support to fund the management activities including the procurement of insecticides.

The Cabinet immediately approved the budget for the management of the fall armyworm throughout the country,” he noted.

The Food and Agriculture Ministry, he noted, collaborated with UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International for the recommended insecticides registered in Ghana and also registered for the control of fall armyworm in Brazil, USA and other African countries.

Twelve agro chemical companies, he further noted, were engaged in the supply of the insecticides to the Food and Agric Ministry to undertake the control exercise.

“The Ministry having secured the above facility from the companies consequently requested for a retrospective approval from the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) for emergency supply of insecticides to control the fall armyworm.

The Public Procurement Authority granted the request of the use of Single Source Procurement Method to engage various supplies to undertake the procurement of the insecticides in accordance with Section 40 (1) (c) of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663).”

The Agric Minister was answering to a question posed by NDC MP for Ashaiman, Ernest Henry Norgbey as to what procurement method was used in procuring the insecticides for the armyworm eradication.

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