The Country Director of the World Bank, Mr Henry Kerali, says Ghana can save more than $100 million, an equivalent of two per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) annually for introducing the e-procurement system.
He said the e-procurement system would not only improve efficiency in public procurement but also reduce the cost of transactions to service providers.
Mr Kerali was speaking at the launch of the Ghana Electronic Procurement System (GHANEPS) last Tuesday in Accra on the theme: “Rising to a New Dawn in Public Procurement”.
Also known as the “e-Government Procurement (e-GP)”, the $5 million online platform system, which will be operated by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), has automated all public procurement processes.
The e-GP was funded through the World Bank-sponsored $97 million e-Transform Ghana Project and seeks to strengthen the accountability, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of the government.
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Mr Kerali said a centralised supplier database would improve compliance, audits and performance and also enhance productivity as electronic records helped with the submission of tenders and reduced paperwork, resulting in cost reductions.
He urged all public agencies to take advantage of the system to transform their operations.
While commending the government for the initiative, he urged all public agencies to take advantage of the e-procurement system to enhance their operations.
On the e-Transform Ghana Project, he said, the World Bank signed a financing agreement with the government of Ghana for the implementation of the $97 million project in July 2014.
The objective of the project, he explained, was to improve the efficiency and coverage of the government’s service delivery using information communication technologies to leverage connectivity for innovation and economic transformation.
The project included e-Procurement, e-Justice, e-Immigration, e-Parliament and the necessary infrastructure and data storage systems.
With the President of Ghana’s vision of “Ghana Beyond Aid”, Mr Kerali pledged the World Bank’s commitment to continue to provide technical and financial support for the government under the e-Transform Ghana Project to improve on Ghana’s economy and the ease of doing business.
“Corruption in procurement endemic”
The Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, said the perceived corruption in Ghana’s
procurement system was endemic, requiring a paperless system that would largely seek to reduce the human element in the entire process.
The introduction of the e-GP, she said, would, therefore, help the country to reduce corruption practices in the procurement processes.
“As the public procurement processes in the country take a new form, I am elated that the Ghanaian public will witness a drastic reduction in corrupt practices from the use of e-Government Procurement System,” she said.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful further stated that the implementation of the government procurement online would not only benefit the country, but the suppliers and the public at large as prices for contracts and government expenditures would also reduce.
“We will like to see the electronic government project contributing to achieving major efficiency in the reduction of prices by at least 10 to 20 per cent due to increase competitiveness, reduction in transaction cost by about 50 per cent and a reduction of about 20 to 30 per cent of public expenditures,” she said.
She said as digitisation had come to stay, Ghana, like other countries, needed to embrace itself for the new drive of the world, saying “Ghana has not been left out of the digital drive as it endeavours to go paperless”.
It was for that reason, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said, the Ministry of Communication was working with the ministries, departments and agencies to champion the digitisation process to catch up with the global trend of improving the delivery of services to the public.
Currently, she said, the ministry was working to provide a network coverage of right of use of at least 10 gigabytes across all district capitals as part of the efforts to make available quality network for connectivity.
The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who launched the digital platform said the e-GP was the first of its kind in Africa and was an indication of the country’s lead position in digital innovation in the sub-region.
He said about 90 per cent of the corruption cases reported in the country were related to public procurement.
Therefore, he said, the e-GP had come at the right time to serve as an important tool for ensuring transparency by reducing corruption in the procurement processes.
While commending the management of the PPA and other World Bank agencies for the e-Procurement platform, Dr Bawumia said the system would enhance coordination and competition, increase productivity and ensure paperless transactions.