Open contracting : A catalyst to Africa’s development


The global training and engagement lead for Open Contracting Partnership (OCP), Mr. David Selassie Opoku, has disclosed that, government contracting is worth trillions of dollars a year, therefore, there is the need to open up public contracting through disclosure, data and engagement so that the huge sums of money involved will be spent honestly, fairly, and effectively.

According to him, there is always a high chance of corruption in any system that is complicated and involves many people when there isn’t information for the people to help in monitoring.

He said, “We at OCP, work across sectors and along the whole process of government contracting to use the power of open data to save governments money and time, deliver better goods and services for citizens, prevent corruption, and to create a better business environment for all.”

Mr. Opoku, was speaking in a sideline interview with News Ghana, at a two-day
multi-stakeholder training on public procurement legislation, open contracting and the use of the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), which was scheduled from 1st to 2nd August, 2019, at the Sunloge Hotel in Accra.

The multi-stakeholder training was organized by the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) in partnership with the Africa Freedom for Information Centre (AFIC) and facilitated by the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP), with funding support from William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

According to David Opoku, OCP lays out how transformation is driven towards a bold shift in the global default of public contracting and procurement from closed to open. They also do advocacy that challenges vested interests and changes the global norm in public contracting from closed to open, and as well as offer support for a network of partners who implement open contracting projects and the adoption of the Open Contracting Data Standard.

“But we can’t do this alone. This is why we look forward to working and engaging with partners globally. Join us at the cutting edge of open government and help find out where the money and the power is,” Mr. Opoku said.

Participants in a group debate.

He added that, ” As we all know, public procurement in Ghana and across the world is a very complicated process, so what we are doing with various stakeholders including the public officials and civil societies over here is to understand what mandate and policies we need in order to open up contracting.”

He also said, “If the public procurement process is made open all the way from the planning stage to the implementation stage where different stakeholders have an understanding of what is happening,… who is winning contract, how much is being spent, it will not only lead to transparency, but also efficiency in the system.”

“So what we have been doing for the past two days is understanding what the state of public procurement in Ghana is, and participants had an activity called “Data Expedition” where they had an opportunity to work with the data set around contracting from the Public Procurement Authority (PPA).

Participants in a hands on activity.

He was of the believe that, by enabling public officials, civil society organizations and journalists to have these skills, they will go a long way to play the role in helping to monitor and improve the system all together.

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