Over 80 percent of state funds go into procurement after personal emoluments, the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) has disclosed. Yvonne Vanderpuye, a Principal Operations Officer of PPA, told 'City & Business Guide' that public procurement, which covers the purchase of goods, works and services constitute 14 percent of the countrys Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 24 percent of total imports.
She said Government introduced the public financial management reforms programme about a decade ago to improve the overall public financial management in Ghana after identifying weaknesses in the countrys procurement systems.
Until then, there was no comprehensive public procurement policy or legal regime to safeguard public procurement as well as absence of clearly defined roles, responsibilities and authority of procurement entities.
Ms Vanderpuye confirmed that procurement practices had improved since the Public Procurement Law (Act 663) was introduced in 2003, stressing that more needs to be done in the area of educating the public, especially the private sector who are mostly the suppliers of goods and services. We have the bulk of state resources going into procurement and we must ensure that state resources which are the tax payers money are spent judiciously, she said.
Aside harmonizing public procurement processes in the public service, the law aims to secure the judicious, economic and efficient use of state resources as well as to ensure public procurement that is fairly transparent and non-discriminatory.
It also applies to central management agencies, Ministries, Departments, Agencies, state-owned enterprises, public educational institutions and all other institutions that were established by government for the general welfare of the public.
Public procurement also has a direct impact on the successful delivery of government projects and public service. Ms Vanderpuye said under the laws of Ghana, misuse or misappropriation of state resources attracted sanctions. So far, over 20, 000 public officials have been trained on the requirements of the Public Procurement Act 663.
Adjenim Boateng Adjei, the Chief Executive Officer of PPA, said public procurement procedures are tools for development and must be followed accordingly. The PPA, he said, had identified capacity gaps in the areas of procurement and had therefore functioned out models to be used in the universities for the training of purchasing officials.
A training programme that would last between three and six months is also being considered for professionals with Higher National Diploma (HND) in procurement to sharpen their knowledge and skills. We cannot achieve the level of performance that this country needs without the active involvement of the trained professionals and media, he said.
PPA, which is an independent procurement regulatory body, formulates policies, monitors and ensures information management and dissemination in the area of public procurement in Ghana.
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