New measures introduced by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) have enabled the state to save about GH¢1.6 billion over the last 15 months, the authority’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Agyenim Boateng Adjei, has disclosed.
The measures include the establishment of two units to scrutinise procurement requests made to it by state institutions to ensure the equitable use of state resources.
In an interaction with senior journalists in Accra, Mr Adjei said the PPA was committed to achieving its mandate of safeguarding the public purse to ensure value for money and efficiency in public procurement processes.
The PPA was set up under the Public Procurement Act of 2003 (Act 663) to make administrative and institutional arrangements for procurement, stipulate tendering procedures and provide for related matters, as well as instil financial discipline and integrity in public procurement practices and procedures.
Mr Adjei said in view of the growing concern over the operations of the authority, it engaged in an aggressive agenda to restore efficiency and confidence in the public procurement system which he described as “a critical force to deliver important development outcomes.”
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The CEO said one of the units that was set up — the Due Diligence/Value for money Unit — examined the price reasonableness of estimated values provided by agencies for sole sourcing and restricted tendering.
The unit, therefore, approved such requests not just based on the urgency of the request, as was the case previously, but whether the prices being quoted were reasonable enough.
In many cases, he said, the prices quoted were found to be far above the prevailing market prices.
Mr Adjei explained that in 2017, the new measures helped the state to make a saving of GH¢800 million, while for the first half of 2018, a saving of over GH¢795 million was made, bringing the total to nearly GH¢1.6 billion.
He noted that although the Auditor General’s report uncovered some misuse of state funds annually, the PPA was determined to ensure that that money was not spent before the findings were made.
“We want to prevent the loss of the money before the Auditor General finds out”, he said.
Mr Adjei disclosed that the authority had concluded procurement investigations into the operations of the National Lotteries Authority, National Communications Authority, Electricity Company of Ghana, Electoral Commission, Ghana Airports Authority and the Ghana Water Company Ltd.
The audit report on those organisations, he said, had been lodged with the Attorney-General and the Economic and Organised Crime Office for further investigations and possible prosecution.
He said 10 other institutions were being audited and named them as the Ministry of Education, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Ministry of Energy, University of Education, Winneba and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly.
The rest are the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Northern Electricity Development Company, Tema Oil Refinery and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department.
Mr Adjei commended the media for the watchdog role they had played in exposing the rot in procurement related challenges in the country, and added that the PPA would partner the media to offer training for journalists on the Public Procurement Law to enable them to build capacity to provide accurate reporting on procurement issues.