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Veep launches national e-procurement system

BY: Salomey Appiah-Adjei

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has launched a national e-procurement system to improve efficiency and transparency in public procurement.

Dubbed: the “e-Government Procurement (e-GP)”, the $5 million project which will be operated by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), will ensure that public sector procurement was conducted using information technology (IT).

The e-GP that is funded through the World Bank-sponsored $97 million e-Transform Programme, seeks to strengthen the accountability, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of the government.

The event also marked the launch of the PPA website.

Launch

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Launching the e-GP in Accra yesterday, Dr Bawumia said, it was being piloted in six high spending government institutions, namely the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Koforidua Technical University (KTU), the Volta River Authority (VRA), Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) and the Department of Feeder Roads (DFR).

After the piloting, he said, personnel of the 660 entities in the public sector would be trained and enrolled onto the system to ensure that by 2020, all public institutions and agencies were migrated onto the system as a measure to monitor their procurement activities and also reduce corruption.

The Vice-President said the e-GP was the first of its kind in Africa and it was an indication of the country’s lead position in digital innovation in the sub-region.

He explained that with the e-GP, the procurement processes, including registration, attestation, tendering and awarding of contracts, would be made available electronically.

Considering the fact that majority of the corruption cases recorded in the country were related to procurement, Dr Bawumia said the e-procurement system  had come at the right time to serve as an important tool for ensuring transparency by reducing corruption in the procurement processes.

While limiting the human interface in procurement, Dr Bawumia said the electronic system would enhance coordination and competition, increase productivity and ensure paperless transactions.

Digital innovation

Dr Bawumia indicated that the digitisation of the procurement system was a realisation of the objective of the government to transform the Ghanaian economy into a digital one.

He mentioned the recently launched e-Justice system (Paperless Court), e-Immigration system for border control and other immigration services and the Parliament of Ghana’s e-Parliament system, as some of the e-projects to transform the economy into a digitised one.

Migrating govt agencies

In her address, the Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, said the e-GP was expected to reduce the prices of goods and services between 10 and 20 per cent due to increased competitiveness. It would also reduce transaction cost between 50 and 80 per cent and reduce public expenditures between 20 and 30 per cent.

 “Allowing the tracking down of each single information and transaction detail of the procurement process, online government procurement increases transparency and holds governments more accountable in spending taxpayer’s money. In addition, the potential for fraud and corruption in government procurement can be reduced considerably,” she stated.

She said technology was swiftly transforming how business was conducted globally and so from small businesses to large multinational firms, the deployment of IT had transformed operations resulting in enhanced efficiency and reduced cost.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said the Ministry of Communications had cooperated with other ministries, departments and agencies to champion digitisation in meeting up with the global trend of improving the delivery of services to the public.

The minister said the implementation of an effective digitisation programme required the availability of quality network for connectivity and for electronic implementation of programmes to provide national coverage of the right use of at least 10 gigabytes across all district capitals in the country.

The Chief Executive Officer of the PPA, Mr Agyenim Boateng Adjei, for his part, said moves to have a formidable e-GP project commenced seven years ago but was stalled, and was revived by the current government in 2017, when a contract was signed for the project to kick-start.

He said countries across the globe were opting for e-procurement platforms due to the realisation of its potential to curb irregularities and unnecessary cost in the procurement process.