The Public Procurement Authority (PPA) says inadequate funds is hampering its quest to improve efficiency and transparency in Ghana’s public procurement system.
The situation, Mr Frank Mante, Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PPA, said was also hindering the Authority’s inability to effectively contribute to national development and the Government’s agenda of a ‘Ghana beyond aid’.
“As part of our functions, the PPA is mandated to periodically assess the conduct of public procurement activities in Ghana. Due to lack of funds, the Authority could not undertake this assignment for three years (2016-19),” he said.
He explained that with the needed funding and logistics, the Authority would ensure a procurement system that would yield effective public spending which impacted development in the private sector.
“A government’s most direct impact on the private sector is through its procurement behaviour considering that the Government is often the largest investor in and purchaser of services especially in poorer nations,” he stated.
He added that, “the way it [the government] manages its commercial relations with the business community has profound influence on whether acceptable business practices will evolve or not, and on the dynamism of the private sector which was the engine of growth of the economy.”
He was speaking at the 10th annual PPA public forum held on Thursday in Accra on the theme, “public procurement: propelling the wheels of the private sector to deliver the Ghana beyond aid agenda.”
Commenting on the theme, he said a successful public procurement was largely dependent on a robust, resourced and equipped private sector, and called for enhanced collaboration in that regard.
He also spoke about the role of the media in ensuring a transparent and efficient procurement processes, and said the dissemination of information by the Media was critical to ensuring a judicious and responsible procurement system.
The CEO of PPA hinted that the Authority would conduct a series of training for the Media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to make them be abreast of the requirements of the PPA.
Mr Mante, bemoaned non adherence by various stakeholders, indicating that PPA was collaborating with the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Auditor-General, and the Special Prosecutor to flush out sector players who did not conform to regulations contained in the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663).
Responding to the challenges facing the Authority, Professor Ameyaw Akumfi, Chairman of the Governing Board of PPA, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the situation was because the Authority was a subverted organisation.
The situation, he said had resulted in limited funding to the Authority and “it doesn’t make it possible for them to do all the things that they want to do.”
“The current budget cycle is almost over and we are beginning a new so we hope that in the course of the year we will be able to sit down to see what request we can send to Parliament to enable them work efficiently,” he said.
He pointed out that public procurement was at the centre of the way public money was spent, as budgets were translated into services in large parts through the workings of the procurement system.
“The construction of schools, clinics, and roads, drilling of wells as well as the acquisition of medicine and textbooks occur in most countries throughout the nation’s public procurement system,” he added.
On the issue of non-compliance, he called for reforms in regulations to extend the suspension period from one year to at least four years, noting that it would make the companies competitive and offer quality services.