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Business News of Saturday, 31 October 2015

Source: B&FT

‘Boost local industry with amended procurement law’

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An enterprise competitiveness adviser and member of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Samuel Nick Ayison, is asking government to seize the ongoing amendment of the country’s procurement laws to enact policies that will better the lot of private sector businesses.

Government is seeking to upgrade laws regulating procurement processes in the country, to ensure judicious use of the public purse as well as address the need of local content in the procurement process.

The Procurement Amendment Bill (2015), which is currently before parliament, is expected to streamline the administrative procurement processes and allow for adequate local content participation.

And the business adviser is recommending that one critical area that must be considered in the ongoing discussions is the declining manufacturing sector.

Mr. Ayison said -- given that the business sector is burdened with lack of funding, multiple tax obligations and inadequate incentives -- the new law could be skewed to help industrial businesses survive and expand, thus providing the impetus needed to drive economic growth.

He told the B&FT on the sidelines of the stakeholder sensitisation forum on the amended law: “As a country we are presently facing the challenge of unemployment, but we also know that the manufacturing sector -- which carries huge prospects in terms of job-creation -- has not received adequate support.

“For instance, there should be a directive that enjoins a certain percentage of procured goods should be sourced from local industries along with the clarion call for increased patronage of locally-made goods.”

He said by so doing, government will be making use of public procurement to achieve sustainable domestic policy goals through the promotion of critical economic sectors.

“This will obviously augment efforts of local businesses to boost their competence and productivity; and one can imagine the impact that it will have on the economy,” he said.

But deputy finance minister Helen Mona Quartey told journalists that the amended law makes adequate provision for local content in the procurement process.

“The current law governing the procurement process is a good one; but we have realised, anyway, that the acts governing the process should be upgraded to meet up with international best practice.

“In the amended law, the issue of local content in the procurement process is taken care of; and so if the bill is hopefully accepted by parliament, some of the challenges in the current system will be addressed,” she indicated.

Ms Quartey said the various tender committees in different institutions of the country have been given different thresholds to enable them operate in a practical way and ensure that projects are completed in a timely manner.

“We also realised that the thresholds we had for the different MDAs and MMDAs were too low, or unrealistic in the context of current market conditions. So those thresholds have been adjusted to enable heads of institutions to procure within their own limits,” she noted.