Akilagpa Sawyerr slams authorities over foreign negotiations

 Prof Sawyerr

Prof Sawyerr

A former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Akilagpa Sawyerr, has slammed the way the country enters into some negotiations and said, some of the contracts are not in the interest of the nation.


He therefore advocated the strengthening of the county negotiation development of procedures and guidelines for negotiating international business transactions.


“We have to ensure that, we do not hang ourselves in the agreement we make”,  he said.


Prof. Sawyerr said these at the 12th Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Lectures organised by the University of Cape Coast at the weekend.


The lecture was on the theme; “Negotiation and management of public agreements: our national Achilles heel?”


A special congregation was held by the university in recognition of his service to humanity.


He was awarded with Doctor of Letters (D. Litt, Honoris Causa).


Prof. Sawyerr stated that, there was the need for the country to formalise the way negotiations were entered into and said that, the current style was a complete disservice to the nation.


He advocated the setting up of a public agreement review committee that would review all contracts and advise government on agreements the country enters into.


The committee, he said, should be independent and impartial in the discharge of its duties to the state by ensuring that all contracts and negotiations do not result in the country being shortchanged.


Prof. Sawyerr accused parliamentarians of failing very badly on many occasions in scrutinising agreements tabled in parliament.


He called on parliament to develop guidelines that would enable parliamentarians to exercise restraints in checking the executive.


Additionally, he called for the adoption of a serious capacity training for parliamentarians.


Parliament, Prof. Sawyerr said, should exercise some self-restraint not on partisan basis regardless of political party consideration.


He advocated the institution of a research support arrangement for members to double check negotiations or agreements that would be brought to parliament.


Prof. Sawyerr further indicated the need for the Council of State to call for and investigate contracts that the nation would make before advising the President.


The Council of State, he said, had the power to call for and investigate any agreement.


“They have a function to perform and they should do it and do it well” he said.


He stated that “Parliament and Council of State have not always served the country well in the matter of public agreement.”


Prof Sawyerr further underscored the need for the country to be transparent in transparent in the negotiations and agreements by adopting open contracting procedures.

That, he said, would ensure that, all records regarding international agreements were kept in order for it to serve as a learning procedure for subsequent agreements.


The nation, Prof. Sawyerr stated, should develop a pool of good negotiators in both the private and public sector available to government at any time.


“Whatever we do, be it political and policy leadership in the negotiation, we should allow technical people to lead on technical matters.”


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