The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition has advocated the need for open contracting in all spheres to ensure transparency and accountability in the country.
Ms Florence Dennis, Executive Secretary of the Coalition said government spends between 60 to 70 per cent of its expenditure on procurement where contracts are signed with providers for the delivery of basic goods and services.
Ms Dennis said information to such contracts are either not made public or the contracts are poorly managed, preventing the citizenry from deriving benefits from these huge investments.
She made the call on Wednesday in Accra at a stakeholder?s forum and the launch of open contracting guide, funded by Ateneo De Manila University School of Government and the World Bank Institute.
Ms Dennis noted that open contracting sought to promote contract disclosure and participation in public contracting to trigger better contract performance and improved development outcomes.
She said the forum is expected to provide for a multi-stakeholders perspective on the effect of open contracting on the nation?s development, as well as outline strategies in promoting open contracting in the country.
Mr Samuel Sallas-Mensah, Chief Executive Officer of the Public Procurement Authority, said the Authority was set up by the Act in collaboration with various stakeholders to ensure that public procurement is carried out in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner, using state resources in a judicious, economic and efficient way.
He said open contracting would help increase community participation in selecting and monitoring the procurement process to the point of contract award, and subsequently contract execution until project closure.
Mr Sallas-Mensah said the Authority has engaged with Civil Society Groups and the Ghana Contract Monitoring Group whose road map to contract monitoring has confirmed the impact of open contracting especially on road projects.
He encouraged all and sundry to participate in the Authority?s training programmes to enable them effectively play their role adding, that it would continue to improve upon its information systems to ensure better accountability for the state?s resources.
Mr Mohammed Amin, Executive Director of Africa Centre for Energy Policy, urged authorities who sign contracts on behalf of government to be guided by the interest of the nation, since most of the contracts do not benefit the nation.
Mr Gabriel Dedu, Governance Specialist at the World Bank, lauded the initiative, stressing that the implementation of open contracting would ensure citizen?s right to be informed about the whole process of the contracts to prevent abuse and protect investment.
A 106-page book on open contracting was launched at the forum by a group of 17 practitioners in contracts. The book aims at guiding and inspiring others in their own open contracting activities, and supports the emerging global community of practitioners around open contracting.