Institutionalising procurement will save us more than US$200m – expert

Although government saved around US$200million through procurement in the last 12 months, the country could have doubled that figure by institutionalising procurement, says Simon Annan, Chairperson of Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) Ghana.

According to him, if government can appoint the right people to man relevant procurement departments of state-owned agencies, it will save the country several millions in funds.

“We applaud government for putting in place measures that saved the country this sum of money; but this also shows the need to reposition procurement as a profession, because these savings were made as a result of qualified people being put at the right place,” he said.

“If the PPA alone can save the country this huge sum of money, it means that if we put people who are qualified at the various government agencies, then we are going to make a significant amount of savings which could help the country to progress.”

His comments follow President Nana Akufo-Addo’s announcement last Wednesday that his government, in its first year in office, has saved about US$200million by straightening out dubious procurement deals.

“In 2017, our first year in government, 394 sole sourcing requests were made – out of which 223 (56.6%) were approved, and 171 (43.6%) were rejected. There were 346 requests for restricted tenders and 167 (48%) were approved, with 179 (52%) were rejected. The savings made over the year, as a result, amounted to GH¢145.7million; US$146.2million; €1.85million and £22,400,” the President said during his encounter with the press.

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The Public Procurement Authority (PPA) is headed by Agyenim Boateng Adjei, a procurement expert, while its board is chaired by Professor Douglas Boateng, a professor in supply chain management.

This, Mr. Annan believes, is the reason the country was able to save about US$200million as a result of having the right people at the right place.

To ensure that the country makes the most from the procurement sector, Mr. Annan advocated implementing the procurement law to the letter – adding that “the default method in the law is competitive bidding, and if we can do competitive bidding we could save over 30% of the procurement cost”.

Among other things, Mr. Anna -, who is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, UK – called for licencing of the profession to ensure sanity, as well as appointing qualified procurement professionals onto boards of state-owned entities.

“Another thing that we have to do as a country is legislate the profession. The profession has no legislation. Now, we have the law which has been enacted; but the people who are going to implement the law are not licenced,” he added.

Going forward, he also urged the PPA to be more transparent with how it arrived at these savings, to improve public confidence in the work of the PPA and the procurement profession as a whole.

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