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Sun, Aug

PROCUREMENT REFORMS SAVE GHANA GHC1.9 BILLION IN 21 MONTHS

Business & Economy

The Public Procurement Authority (PPA) has disclosed that it has saved the country GHC1.9 billion within the past 21 months.

The Public Procurement Authority (PPA) has disclosed that it has saved the country GHC1.9 billion within the past 21 months.

This saving is attributable to a couple of purpose-driven initiatives which have been introduced to add value to the PPA’s operations.

The chief executive of the Authority, Agyenim Boateng Adjei, made this known when the PPA took its turn in the fifth series of Meet the Press encounters for the year.

Due Diligence/Value for Money Unit

Mr Adjei said initiatives undertaken by his administration have resulted in the establishment of the Due Diligence/Value for Money Unit.

According him, the unit has contributed significantly to enhancing the credibility of PPA operations, leading ultimately to significant savings for Ghana.

He explained that with these savings, the government can use large sums of money which would otherwise have ended up in “private pockets” to fund national development projects.

“I am pleased to announce that the PPA, as a result of the introduction of these initiatives between April 2017 and December 2018, succeeded in ensuring that this amount of money has been freed to finance other areas of the economy,” Mr Adjei said.

Sole sourcing

Responding to a question about whether the NPP government has got rid of sole-sourcing or single-sourcing procurement, having raised many complaints about the practice during the John Mills and John Mahama governments, he said the NPP never promised to end the practice.

The PPA boss said that the party only promised to address abuses previously associated with single sourcing in view of rampant abuse of the system.

He said it would be impossible for anyone to advocate that single sourcing be expunged from the laws of Ghana.

Restricted tenders

Mr Adjei said that in 2017 there were 420 applications for single sourcing. Out of that number, 236 were approved and 184 rejected.

The applications for restrictive tendering in that year were 372. Out of those, 174 were approved and 198 were rejected. That represents 51.7 per cent approved and 48.2 per cent rejected.

Single sourcing applications in 2018 were 511, with 409 approved and 103 rejected. In addition, 386 applications were made for restricted tendering, with 261 approved and 125 rejected. That represents 74 per cent approvals and 6.4 per cent rejections. Mr Adjei said in 2017 and 2018 over GHC1bn was saved through the process.

However, under the National Democratic Congress government, the total applications for both single sourcing and restrictive tendering were 1,214. Of that number 1,184 were approved and only 30 rejected.

The NDC, he said, made no savings in 2016 from single sourcing and restrictive tendering.

Random investigations

The PPA chief executive said the Authority has established a special procurement investigation unit to conduct random investigations into the procurement activities of state agencies and ministries.

Among the anomalies uncovered in the investigations conducted so far is bid/tender rigging, which is collusion among tenderers.

“There was also bid/tender suppression, where competitors are coerced to agree not to participate; and then complementary bidding/tendering, a situation where competitors submit token tenders to favour one of them.

“PPA also found anomalies in bid/tender rotation, where competitors arrange to win contracts in turns, as well as with customer/market allocation, which sees competitors divide customers among themselves on a regional or territorial basis,” he said.

To this end, the Authority has reported a total of 20 bodies to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice on suspicion of serious procurement infractions.

Asked what should be done by way of punishment, Mr Adjei said it is for the Attorney General to determine what punitive measures should be taken, and not the PPA.

Challenges

He announced that in line with recent trends in public procurement reform, the Authority will soon issue guidance on the need for negotiations to establish “Best and Final Offer” (BAFO) procedures, and will outline further bid declaration and gender mainstreaming initiatives in public procurement.

Despite the initiatives to save Ghana money, Mr Adjei said all is not rosy at the Authority, as it is battling financial challenges.

“The Authority has had to depend on donor funds to run most of our programmes, within the diktats of the donors’ terms and pace,” he said.

According to the PPA boss, the allocations to the Authority to carry out its regulatory functions have been grossly inadequate over the years.

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