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Defence Ministry will engage competent contractors — Nitiwul

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
The Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul
The Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul

The process by which the Ministry of Defence (MoD) awards contracts will be made transparent and bids given to the most suitable contractor who can deliver quality work, the Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, has said.

He warned that contractors who engaged in shoddy work and the supply of inferior goods, including those who intended to receive 50 per cent mobilisation funds before executing projects of the ministry, would not be tolerated.

“In this ministry, we will not accept contractors who come and do shoddy work; we will not accept contractors who come and delay jobs; we will not accept those who come to give us inferior goods and those who come here and think that we have to give them 50 per cent mobilisation before they start work,” he stated.

Speaking at a joint inauguration of the MoD and the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Entity Tender Committee last Friday, Mr Nitiwul added: “We will not accept contractors who inflate prices; we will accept those who want to serve Mother Ghana well.”

Committees

The 14-member committee, chaired by the Deputy Minister of Defence, Mr Derek Oduro (rtd), was reconstituted a couple of months ago to review and approve annual procurement plans, confirm the range of acceptable costs of items to be procured and ensure that procurement procedures were followed in strict conformity with provisions of the Public Procurement Amendment Act 2016, Act 914.

Other responsibilities include ensuring that necessary concurrent approval was obtained from the appropriate tender review committee, facilitating contract administration and ensuring compliance with requirements.

The ceremony was also used to inaugurate a five-member Audit Committee of the Ministry of Defence that would, among others, implement the recommendations contained in internal audit reports, Parliament’s decision on the Auditor-General’s Report and the Auditor-General’s management letter.

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No sole tender

Mr Nitiwul stated that once public money was involved in public procurement, the MoD had a constitutional duty to ensure that it was well protected.   

“We want to have a transparent way of awarding contracts, such that public money can be protected,” he stated.

According to him, the ministry would open the tender processes to all to bid for the most suitably qualified contractors to be selected.

The minister, however, indicated that the ministry would implement some procurement processes that might not be in the public sphere but would follow the procurement laws.

“This is why the government is making a firm commitment to ensure that procurement practices are followed rigorously. We will apply open tender, which is best for the ministry, and I do not foresee sole tender because the government is not in the process of doing sole sourcing,” he stated.

Mr Nitiwul told members of the committee that they should be professional in the discharge of their duties in a “fair and transparent manner and oversee the tendering processes with equity and fairness.”

Audit committee

Addressing the members of the Audit Committee, he urged the committee to implement Parliament’s recommendations to the ministry to recover the $700,000 paid to some contractors in 2006 and 2010.

“That we cannot run away and we assure Parliament that we will retrieve this amount before we go back next year to face Parliament,” he said.

The minister also advised the committee not to be cowed by anybody, since its performance would help portray the MoD as the leader in discipline, including procurement.

“The public know the GAF as being disciplined and they will not forgive us for any infractions in the implementation of bad procurement and corrupt practices,” he stated.