Procurement industry needs licensing body
Ghana stands a very good chance of curbing corruption, if it can establish a procurement licensing body to certify practitioners, Simon Annan, Deputy Chair, Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, Africa (CIPS) has said.
According to him, the profession needs regulation similar to what pertains in the legal and medical disciplines, where practitioners are issued with license and professional code of conduct, so that when one goes against the set rules of the profession, that person losses the right to practice.
This, among others, he explained, would bring professionalism to procurement process in the country, since one’s license could easily be revoked if they engage in any act that brings the profession into disrepute. This, he said, could help save the country millions of cedis.
“One of the things we want the Ministry of Procurement to do now is to take the profession to the next level and ensure that there is a license for all the professionals in Ghana. When this is done, it will ensure that people don’t just wake up and start practicing without the requisite education.
So we are calling on the minister to lead the licensing of procurement professionals. I believe that if we are licensed like the Ghana Medical Association, accountants and others who are licensed and backed by a Legislative Instrument, it will go a way to curb corruption since people will now be afraid to lose their license.”
Currently, he said the profession is saddled with people who have undertaken only two or three week courses, which is not sufficient enough to qualify someone as a procurement professional.
In his view, the country stands to gain enormously if it can place more premium on procurement and the role it can play in curbing the age-old problem of corruption.
He said it was therefore imperative for procurement officials to be elevated to director status which will enable them to resist any attempts by other superiors in state-owned enterprises to short-change the system.
“If you look at what happened at Ministry of Local Government and SSNIT, the procurement people were not involved. They are not part of the decision making process. Other professionals are causing mess for us; people who have hijacked procurement at the directorial and ministerial levels.
Mr. Annan added: “One of the critical issues that has also brought this thing is the fact that as a country we have not recognized procurement at the strategic level because if we look at the structure, procurement people are officers and because they are officers they are excluded from decisions that bother on their line of profession,” he noted.
He warned that government risk repeating the mistakes that have led to countless corrupt activities in the past, if it fails to appoint procurement experts onto boards of public institutions.
He added: “So we are also calling for procurement to be elevated to the board room or to a director level. Because if a procurement professional is on the board and these discussions are going on, he would bring his expertise on board. Unfortunately, if you look at all our entities, you can’t even pin point any professional who has a voice, we are mostly officers and if I am to report to head of finance or administration and my boss ask me to do A, B, or C, I can’t say anything. I just have to oblige.”
Currently, African countries such as Kenya and The Gambia have established entities that issue licenses to all procurement practitioners. In both countries, the issuing body also holds the right to revoke the license when a practitioner engages in corrupt activities or any practice that is against the rules of the profession.