Mr Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance, on Thursday said the Ministry would with effect from next year ensure that no warrant for payments are issued unless such expenditure are duly captured and aligned with procurement plans of entities.
“If any capital expenditure is not properly incorporated into the procurement plans of Procurement Entities then it will have no basis for payment,” he said.
The Minister, who was speaking at the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) 2014 Public Forum and 10th anniversary celebration, said “if we are to reform as a nation, we must be bold to unearth malfeasance and fraud from our system”.
The occasion, on the theme “Extending the Frontiers of Ghana’s Procurement Management: A Look at the Next Decade” attracted more than 500 people from industries, entities, academia, civil society, donors, and past board members of the Authority.
Mr Terkper said the theme was most appropriate because looking back, it was indeed a joy to note that the current public procurement reforms which begun in early 1990s as part of the initiatives of the then National Democratic Congress Government finally came into fruition with the passage of the Public Procurement Act in 2003 setting the tone for a massive take-off.
He said the promulgation of the Public Procurement Act in 2003, (Act 663) has without doubt brought immense benefit to the economy, in spite of few challenges, and commended the PPA for remaining resolute to its core mandate.
He said 10 years in the life of an institution like PPA gives course for changes in certain aspects of the application of the law in practical terms.
“I am therefore glad to announce that the proposed amendments have received cabinet’s approval and it is on its way to be laid before Parliament,” he said.
He pledged the Ministry continued support for initiatives of the PPA to ensure that public procurement is conducted with due attention to the economy, efficiency and value for money.
“To the Public Procurement Entities, which are the implementers of the Act, I would want to encourage you to collaborate closely with the PPA, and avail yourself of the numerous tailored training opportunities that the Authority puts across from time to time to develop institutional capacity for procurement,” he said.
This he said, was the surest means of enhancing their performance levels and ensuring better accountability of the State’s resources.
Mr Samuel Salas-Mensah, Chief Executive of PPA, mentioned poor procurement planning among procurement entities and funding of PPA’s activities as their key challenges.
He was however, grateful to the development partners who as a result of their firm commitment to seeing an effective public procurement system in Ghana have supported various aspects of the Authority’s work.
He said PPA would keep on pushing for the integration of Public Procurement into the overall Public Financial Management framework.
“Currently, the procurement function is sometimes perceived to be outside the framework and only considered when it is time to carry out financial management exercises. This situation cannot be allowed to continue,” he added.
Mr Salas-Mensah said the first step was to get the Budget Directorate of the Ministry of Finance to impress on entities to post their procurement plans on PPA’s website for before Commencement Warrants of projects and activities are issued.
Commodore Steve Obimpeh (rtd), PPA Board Chairman, said despite the difficulties, the Authority had chalked out significant success in areas of capacity development, by training more than 20,000 Procurement functionaries across the country on Monitoring and Evaluation and conducting major Assessment exercises for than 1000 Procurement Entities nationwide.
“The PPA has also made international strides. We have over the past decades, successfully hosted various teams from Public procurement Regulatory Institutions from Tanzania, Botswana, Nigeria and Liberia to benchmark our operations and exchange ideas on effective Public procurement Management,” he added.
In the quest to bring the operations of the Authority closer to the door-step of the entities, PPA have so far decentralised its operations by establishing two zonal offices in Sekondi-Takoradi and Kumasi and would in time expand to the remaining eight regions.
Deserving and hard working staff were honoured with certificates and undisclosed amount of money.