Dr Ishmael Yamson, an economist and the former Chief Executive officer of Unilever Ghana, has argued that the public procurement act which seeks to harmonize the processes of public procurement in the public service to secure a judicious, economic and efficient use of state resources is not good enough.
He made this argument yesterday at the induction ceremony themed ‘Developing Ethically Upright Procurement and Supply Professionals for Nation Building’ for newly-admitted members of the Ghana Institute of Procurement (GIPS) and supply in Accra.
According to the former Unilever Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the act makes the work of procurement officer quite difficult.
“I also understand the difficulties procurement officers face in the public sector. The act itself makes their job difficult and risky.
“Everybody on the procurement board is appointed by the President, acting in consultation with the council of state, while the tenure of the board is also determined by the president.
“The chairmen of all entity tender committees are presidential appointees and owe allegiance to the President.
“Although there are ministries and regional coordinating councils among others, all these boards drive on the authority from the President who from our experience only appoints members from their political parties,” he said.
He said the worse part of it is how contracts are awarded outside procurement procedures due to these pitfalls.
“And more worrying, often, agreements and contracts are negotiated and signed by authorities outside the structure than the law has required. We should not be surprised why every succeeding governments accuses members of predecessor government of alleged criminalities in awarding contracts that has caused our country huge losses,” he stated.
The corporate executive therefore called for the amendment of the law saying the alleged crimes were going to continue until the laws are changed “the law need to be amended to take away the overly political control, saying this is not going to stop until Ghana accepts that it is in our own best interest to disconnect the taps that water the sources of public sector procurement corruption”.
He added that despite all these, procurement corruption is not only in the public sector but the private sector also partake in similar activities. He advised that private procurement officers desist from corruption.
“After all, the contracts are signed between Ghana government and its entities and the private sector. So the private sector is as guilty as the government sector when it comes to corruption in procurement. My advice to my fellow private business is that it pays to be resolute against corruption. Shortcuts are always costly in effect”.
At the ceremony, nine newly-admitted members, including the council chairman of GIPS, Basil Ahiable, were inducted by Professor Charles Barnor the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University for Professional Studies.
Ahiable expressed his gratitude for how for the institute has come.
“The journey started three years ago after frantic efforts after establishing local procurement and supply institute in the past were faced with membership apathy and all kinds of frustrations.
“Members expressed their discomfort about a lack of a force to defend our profession in the wake of various corruption and other scandals that continue to rock our country. The revival of the GIPS was the prudent step to take to leap to the realization of our collective efforts,” he stressed, adding that the institute is will soon issue procurement and supply professionals license to operate.
According to him, council, working with the executive committee, will commence the process of engaging a consultant to draft a bill for consideration by parliament to legislate the practice of procurement and supply management in Ghana.
He said that the council together with parliament and the government will make sure the bill is passed into law to help reduce breaches and unprofessionalism in the procurement and supply front in Ghana.