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26.10.2005 General News

Local publisher not refused contracts

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Accra, Oct 26, GNA - Mr Michael Kenneth Nsowah, Acting Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), on Wednesday denied that local book publishers were refused contracts to publish textbooks for Ghanaian schools.

He said all the local publishers tendered bids between June and July 2005 and the GES had evidence of contracts awarded to local book publishers to publish textbooks for use in the basic schools, adding that the textbooks were now arriving for distribution to the schools. In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) Mr Nsowah said apart from SEDCO and MACMILLAN that were foreign but had agents in the country, the rest were Ghanaian publishers who were given a quantity of books each to supply.

The local publishers include; STEP, Afram, Sam-Woode, Adwinsa, Kwadoan, EPP Books, Methodist Books, Masterman, Damas, Smartline, Asempa, Martmag, Sub-Saharan and Woeli/Cosmos while Pearson SEDCO and Unimax/Macmillan were foreign based but had their local agents here. He said every year the GES orders chalk, teachers' notebooks and attendance register and the contracts were always given to local publishers, who rather do the printing in India.

"I want to know where the local publishers printed the books locally, did they sublet these contracts to publishers outside the country or not?"

He said the GES ordered for the textbooks because the Government wanted to provide one textbook each to each pupil to enhance learning in the schools.

On the 28 billion dollar contract signed between the Minister of Education and Sports and Macmillan book publishers, Mr Nsowah said he had no knowledge of any such contract.

He said GES requested for supplementary readers and asked the Ministry to find out if they could get money for the publication of the books.

Mr Nsowah said he had not yet received a letter from the Ministry as to whether it had been able to source funding for the publications, adding the Ministry could only award contracts when money was available.

He said the supplementary readers for lower primary even to training colleges were necessary because the standard of English had gone down and needed to be raised and improved upon and the GES, therefore, wanted to inculcate in the pupils the habit of reading.

Asked if the Macmillan publishers were contacted to provide proposal for the contract, Mr Nsowah said "as we sit here now there are publishers all around and they will always know if the Ministry wants to publish books or not."

He, however, said Macmillan brought a proposal saying they were prepared to give on flexibility terms but no other publisher brought any proposal.

He said: "All I want is to see books in my classrooms whether through sole sourcing or tender, in any case sole sourcing is not against the Public Procurement Act."

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