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Protecting the Public Purse $500M BOGUS SOLE-SOURCED PROJECT HALTED

Business & Economy

Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta has demonstrated his commitment and relentless fight against unjustifiable sole sourcing of government contracts, by instructing the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority to discontinue the single sourcing of a $500 million project to IBISTEK without cost to government.

Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta has demonstrated his commitment and relentless fight against unjustifiable sole sourcing of government contracts, by instructing the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority to discontinue the single sourcing of a $500 million project to IBISTEK without cost to government.

 

The Project was the ‘Development and Operations of on-Dock Container and Multi-purpose Terminal at the Port of Takoradi.’

A letter available to the Daily Statesman signed by the Minister, dated December 29, 2017, and copied to the Office of the Vice President, shows how Mr Ofori Atta could not hide his disappointment for the unacceptable actions of GPHA.

Paragraph 3 of the letter reads: “You are hereby directed to suspend any prior concession agreement to undertake the project without cost to GPHA and government and report same to this office”.

The directive became imperative after the GPHA, with the support of some unseen hands, allegedly conspired and cancelled an ongoing legitimate International competitive procurement process for the selection of a terminal operator and single-sourced the contract to local Ghanaian company IBISTEK with a lame excuse of bringing in local content to the port sector.

Under the same fictitious circumstance, GPHA surprisingly single-sourced the construction of the basic infrastructure to IBISTEK.

It, however, emerged that IBISTEK was not a registered marine construction company and did not have any experience in dredging, reclamation and building of quay walls.

Again, IBISTEK’s claim to have secured funding from the African Development Bank also turned out to be inaccurate.

The $500 million project was started under the elsewhere NDC government to expand the Takoradi port. The Project comprises port infrastructure and related cargo handling, operations and equipment.

The Ghana-Public Private Partnership programme of the World Bank is assisting the Government with funding and Technical support. Under the PPP programme, approval for all the procurement phases of a project is granted solely by an Inter-Ministerial Committee known as the ‘the PPP Approvals Committee,’ chaired by the Minister of Finance.

According to information available to the Daily Statesman, the PPP AC Committee approved the competitive procurement on November 23, 2016 and accordingly submitted to GPHA after its evaluation.

It emerged that GPHA failed to respond to the request for it to approve the shortlisted companies and the draft Request for Proposals, but on the blind side of the Ministry of Finance and the PPP AC Committee, GPHA clandestinely initiated a move to sole-source the contract to IBISTEK with a lame excuse of including Local content in the port sector.

Mr Ofori Atta’s action has been described by many as appropriate and welcome news since the project presents enormous benefits to Ghana’s PPP and procurement processes upon completion.

It is expected that it would guarantee value for money and ultimately reduce the potentiality of any corruption from occurring.

Again, the Minister’s request of the Transaction Adviser to incorporate local content requirements into the RfP has been described as commendable.

It is expected that the project benefits the local industry by way of capacity building and also put them in readiness for future jobs. The impact of insisting on local content requirement and through competitive tender will also positively impact the local economy, according to insiders. 

The Akufo-Addo government on assumption of office introduced mechanisms to limit the number of government contracts that get awarded through sole sourcing, ostensibly to ensure that government contracts deliver value for money.

Prior to this initiative, many of the sole-sourced agreements were deemed inappropriate and did not guarantee value for money.

President Nana Akufo-Addo, during the Meet the Press encounter, disclosed that his administration’s commitment to be thorough on request for single source contracts resulted in the savings of GH¢145.0 million in the 2017.

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