Procurement Authority needs to be granted independent status- MP advocates
Obuasi West MP Kwaku Kwarteng believes that the Public Procurement Authority must be made an independent body to remove the tendency for politicians to manipulate the awarding of contracts.
He said because the Chief Executive of the PPA is appointed and removed at the instance of the President, there is a lack of professional will to stand up to political influence in awarding contracts.
The Public Procurement Act 2003 requires companies to compete for contracts as a way of ensuring value for money and greater transparency in the supply of goods and services in the public sector.
But there is an exception under the 2003 law which allows a public institution to single out a particular company for a contract under certain conditions.
Over the years, however, professionals and politicians say this option has been severely abused.
Now at least 80% of public procurement of goods and services is done through sole sourcing, Minority leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu has complained.
A former CEO of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Mr Agyenim Boateng Adjei has said sole-sourcing is meant to be an exception and not the rule in procurement.
The Act is now undergoing a review in Parliament and Minority MPs see an opportunity to help eliminate the clause on sole sourcing from the Public Procurement Act, 2003.
Kwaku Kwarteng speaking on the Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Tuesday recommended that the Authority be insulated from political interference by making it an independent body.
According to Kwaku Kwarteng “the real way we can deal with this is to discuss the independence of PPA the same way we are beginning to talk about an independent public prosecutor.”
He said, “procurement is political power” explaining that if a politician can determine who gets what contract, he tends to give it to cronies. The prices are inflated and quality is compromised, he indicated.
“The politician has a motivation to give a [contract] to that particular contractor because that puts money in their campaign, therefore you need to find a way of going around the Act cleverly and unfortunately the PPA has gotten along”, he said.
The MP argued that reasons for pushing for the Attorney-General’s Department to be removed from the Ministry of Justice so the Department can independently prosecute persons are similar to the need to grant an independent status to the PPA.
He said the Public Procurement Authority is "too weak" in the face of a politician with "strong motivation to do sole sourcing the wrong way".
A former CEO of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) Agyenim Boateng Adjei stressed that "to a very very large extent" his administration operated independently during his tenure.
"..to the extent that issues that came from central government may be from the Office of the President which we considered inappropriate were turned down. I have got serveral examples."
Conditions under the PPA 2003 that grants sole sourcing
Section 40 (1) of the law lays down the procedures to use; "A procurement entity may engage in single-source procurement under section 41 with the approval of the Board,
(a) where goods, works or services are only available from a particular supplier or contractor, or if a particular supplier or contractor has exclusive rights in respect of the goods, works or services, and no reasonable alternative or substitute exists;
(b) where there is an urgent need for the goods, works or services and engaging in tender proceedings or any other method of procurement is impractical due to unforeseeable circumstances giving rise to the urgency which is not the result of dilatory conduct on the part of the procurement entity;
(c) where owing to a catastrophic event, there is an urgent need for the goods, works or technical services, making it impractical to use other methods of procurement because of the time involved in using those methods;
(d) where a procurement entity which has procured goods, equipment, technology or services from a supplier or contractor, determines that (i) additional supplies need to be procured from that supplier or contractor because of standardisation; (ii) there is a need for compatibility with existing goods, equipment, technology or services, taking into account the effectiveness of the original procurement in meeting the needs of the procurement entity; (iii) the limited size of the proposed procurement in relation to the original procurement provides justification;
(e) where the procurement entity seeks to enter into a contract with the supplier or contractor for research, experiment, study or development, except where the contract includes the production of goods in quantities to establish commercial viability or recover research and development costs; or
(f) where the procurement entity applies this Act for procurement that concerns national security, and determines that single-source procurement is the most appropriate method of procurement."
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