Government to award contracts to vulnerable groups

BY: Emelia Ennin Abbey
Ms Adwoa Safo (left) interacting with Mrs Frema Osei Opare after the forum
Ms Adwoa Safo (left) interacting with Mrs Frema Osei Opare after the forum

The Minister of State in charge of Public Procurement, Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo, has advised women, the youth and persons living with disability to take advantage of the government’s intended policy to allocate 30 per cent of all public contracts to vulnerable groups.

She explained that the policy was aimed at promoting equal opportunities for all in the public procurement process.

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Event

Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on the policy in Accra yesterday, Ms Safo said it was aimed at empowering marginalised and special groups to combat poverty and promote inclusive economic growth.

She said although about 65 per cent of Ghana’s total budgetary allocation went into public procurement, a disproportionate share of the budgetary expenditure benefitted well-established local and multinational companies to the detriment of companies owned by women, youth and persons with disability.


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Data from the World Bank, Ghana Statistical Service, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) indicates that women, youth and persons living with disability constituted about 80 per cent of the population, yet their participation in public procurement and government contracts was minimal, less than 10 per cent.

“A policy intervention is therefore, required to provide equal opportunities in public procurement to ensure fairness and inclusiveness in the allocation of public contracts for this target group,” the minister added.

When the policy comes into effect, Ms Safo said Ghana would become the first West African country to implement the initiative. Already, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa have implemented the policy.

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Campaign promise

The Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei Opare, said the policy was in line with the ruling New Patriotic Party’s (NPP’s) campaign promises during the 2016 electioneering to allocate 70 per cent of all public contracts to local businesses, of which 30 per cent would go to the vulnerable.

“The policy will ultimately empower the target group which have challenges accessing procurement opportunities and also address the unemployment challenges among members of that group. We call them marginalised and vulnerable so we must not make them frustrated to give up with complicated procurement processes. We must make it simple without breaching or compromising on accountability,” she said.

Guidelines

The Chief Executive Officer of the Public Procurement Authority (PTA), Mr Adjeinim Boateng Adjei, said his outfit had developed guidelines to facilitate the implementation of the policy.

Taking participants through an overview of the policy, the Technical Director at the MOPP, Dr Emmanuel Yaw Boakye, said youth within the ages of 18 and 35 and persons living with disability who suffer from physical, mental or sensory impairment would benefit from the policy.