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Business News of Monday, 24 February 2020

Source: laudbusiness.com

Procurement Act useless, provides grounds for corruption – Ex-Editor of Graphic Business


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Former Editor of the Graphic Business, Mr Lloyd Evans, has called for a complete review of the Public Procurement Act 2003 (Act 663).

According to him, the Act, in its current form, gives room for corruption to take place in the award of contracts.

He described the Act as a “useless piece of document” that “must be rewritten because it provides grounds for corruption to take place.”

He said these during a capacity building workshop for journalists on Business Integrity Reporting, organized by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), in Accra on Friday.

The former Vice President of the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) further stated that the award of contracts through sole-souring, any contract entered into without a competitive process, based on a justification that only one known source exists or that only one single supplier can fulfill the requirements, which is permitted by the Act, has resulted in corruption taking place.

This he noted has cost the nation billions of cedis.

“The law must be rewritten,” he stressed.

The World Bank had stated that the Act was expected to reduce bottlenecks, combatting corruption, and building capacity in procurement help governments the buying power of their budgets and improve the quality of service delivery to their citizens.

Public procurement is the process by which governments and other publicly-funded entities acquire goods, works, and services needed to implement public projects.

The Bretton Woods institution further stated that it accounts for at least 15% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), and even more in African countries.

It is recalled that in 2017, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia expressed worry about the abuse of the Procurement Act.

Speaking at a six-day training on procurement, on 29th May 2017, Dr Bawumia cautioned against abusing the policy stating: “We have seen and heard of incidences of the abuse of procurement processes, especially on the reliance on the infamous sole sourcing approach.

“Sole sourcing is actually quite legal and there are circumstances under which it is necessary, but it should not be abused.”

He said: “Ghana, like most evolving economies, has fully adopted the decentralised system of public procurement of goods and services and works since the mid-2000s as part of the public financial reforms.

“However, the rules and regulations of public procurement in Ghana have been occasionally flouted by government appointees and public servants who are supposed to be the great custodians of the public procurement law.

“I’ve had the occasion in the past when we were in opposition to list and discuss some of such infractions of the law.

“Given the non-negotiable significance of public procurement in the governance of our country and the resounding victory granted by the good people of Ghana on the aegis of the trust that the NPP government is more capable of handling corruption head-on, the four month-old government of Nana Akufo-Addo is desirous of doing government business on the right footing, hence this special training programme designed to build the capacity of government appointees and heads of institutions on the essential provisions of the public procurement law, the PFM law and the budget appropriation processes in order to avoid some of the mistakes of the past and achieve more tangible development results for Ghana.”

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