Adopt electronic procurement to curb corruption-Expert
The Deputy Chair of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply-Africa (CIPS-Africa), Simon Annan, has called for the adoption of an electronic procurement system to curb corruption in the public sector.
Public procurement is the process by which taxpayers’ money is used to purchase goods and services for use by and for the state. However, the process has come under intense scrutiny in recent years.
Mr. Annan told the B&FT that: “The millions of cedis that are spent on paying Tender Committee members as well as other costs resulting from the manual processes could be eliminated with an e-procurement and bidding system.”
The CIPS-Africa boss was speaking on the sidelines of a Smartbid business networking event themed: “Fighting corruption through technology, giving SMEs a competitive edge”, held in Accra.
It has been estimated that about US$400billion per annum changes hands through corruption in public procurement around the world -- that for Africa is US$127billion, more than the combined donor aid received from Europe, America and Asia.
In sub-Saharan Africa, it is reported that corruption exists in about 70% of public contracts, which inevitably lead to a rise of 20-30% in contract sums.
Experts estimate that manual procurement costs government agencies about GH¢20 million on advertisement/publication of tenders annually.
Unfavourable practices in the public procurement process, including the blatant abuse of single-source contracts, are undermining the relevance of the process as a tool for national development and a level playing field in contract biddings.
However, Mr. Annan believes that an electronic system has the ability to collect and analyse the data and reduce the human interference in the procurement process.
Countries like Georgia and Korea save between US$200million and US$1.6 million respectively through the use of electronic systems for public bidding and tendering.
Kenneth Thompson, Chief Executive Officer Dalex Finance, said the lack of punishment for public official who abuse the system is worrying.
“Whilst we have set up committee upon committee and people have not been prosecuted, innocent people are dying because they are denied decent basic services because of corruption,” he noted.