The acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Mr Frank Mante, has advised the leadership of regional coordinating councils and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to employ only competent procurement officers to eliminate procurement malfeasance.
“If in your assembly you have a procurement officer who has not got the qualification to protect the assembly, you either send the person for training or get a qualified person,” he said at a training programme for ministers and officials of the six new regions last Saturday.
He said international donors insisted on a strict enforcement of the law, stressing that the World Bank, for instance, would not allow a project to be executed if there were no competent procurement officers in the institution to execute the project.
He added that a lot of procurement malfeasance occurred at the local government level because the personnel in charge were not qualified or did not know what they were doing.
“Once you build the capacity of people, they would have no excuse but to work by the law,” he said.
The capacity building programme for the more than 30 participants was organised by the Office of the Minister of State in charge of Public Procurement and the Ministry of Regional Re-organisation and Development.
With the PPA coming under scrutiny in recent times because of allegations of sale of contract by Talent Development Company (TDL), a company owned by its suspended CEO, Mr Mante said contrary to public perception, the PPA was not directly involved in the award of contract but rather granted approval for methods of procurement.
He said all the entities from the Ministry of Finance, through its Central Tender Committee, regional and district tender committees, had the responsibility to ensure that all documents submitted to them were in conformity with the law before approving them.
On the disposal of assets, he urged procurement officers not to auction, sell or dispose of any asset — no matter the state of those assets — without following the relevant procedures in the Procurement Act.
The Act mandates the head of a procurement entity to convene a Board of Survey that comprises representatives of departments with unserviceable, obsolete or surplus stores, plant and equipment to report on the items and, subject to a technical report on them, recommend the best method of disposal after the officer in charge has completed a Board of Survey form.
He said where the item to be disposed of had consequences for the environment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should be notified.
The Minister of Regional Re-organisation and Development, Mr Dan Botwe, said the training was necessary to build the capacity of the new officers on procurement to ensure that the country got value for money as it embarked on development in the new regions.
“Procurement is a very sensitive aspect of governance and if you don’t build the capacity of people, you cannot expect them to do magic,” he said.
The Minister of State in charge of Public Procurement, Ms Sarah Adjoa Safo, said good procurement practices, laws and regulations had a direct impact on the delivery of public infrastructure, goods and services.