Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Procurement Body Probes Complaints

By Edmund Mingle

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

The Public Procurement Authority (PPA) is probing complaints of unfairness in the tender process by a number of suppliers and contractors.

An Appeals and Complaints Panel, recently set up by the PPA, is probing the complaints of the contractors and suppliers who are not happy with the tender process in which they participated, says Agyenim-Boateng Adjei, Chief Executive Officer of the PPA.

Many of the aggrieved contractors and suppliers, who are said to have lost contract biddings, complain of irregularities in the tender process.

Mr. Adjei told a Meet the Press, session in Accra yesterday that the panel, which has representations, from the Attorney-General’s Office and the Chamber of Commerce, "is tasked to undertake administrative review of cases brought up by aggrieved parties of the procurement process."

Meanwhile, all complaints, "most of which were shrouded in suspicion and lacked clarity, received by the Authority prior to the inauguration of the Panel, have been exhaustively investigated and decisions taken accordingly," he said but did not disclose the outcome of the investigations.

Mr. Adjei, who used the conference to brief the media on the progress of the Authority, reminded all procuring entities of Section 65 of the Public Procurement Act 2003(Act 663) which mandates them to notify all unsuccessful bidders of the award of contracts after the relevant contract is in force, specifying details of the successful winner and the contact price.

"This, we believe, if complied with, will ensure a greater transparency and efficiency in Ghana’s public procurement system," he stated.

Citing challenges to the present public procurement system, he noted that the biggest challenge to the reforms taking place was that the fiscal decentralisation in the public sector has placed procurement responsibility on many public entities, many of whom were not prepared for that role.

"Various studies and reviews of the current state of the public procurement system have revealed that the general lack of professional input in the public procurement and contracting process, has led to the various adhoc arrangement including the use of external expertise at various stages of the procurement process," he said.

For instance, he said the initial assessment of selected entities revealed that majority of practitioners involved in pubic procurement lacked the professional expertise and knowledge of the law governing the practice.

That, he noted, places them at a disadvantage in ensuring that the right practices prescribed by law were adhered to.

To help address this and other challenges, Mr. Adjei said the Authority has developed a three-year strategic plan to develop the capacity of personnel and institutions as well as sensitise all stakeholders about the guidelines and policies for public procurement in the country.

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