ELECTRONIC PROCUREMENT SYSTEM, A TIMELY INTERVENTION

A major channel through which huge sums of money are channelled into private pockets of certain people in the country is the procurement system.

The procurement system has been backed by law to ensure that value for money is achieved in all forms of purchases in the public sector.

Unfortunately, after practising it for some time, it has been noted that people take advantage of the weaknesses in the system to enrich their own selves. Thus, instead of helping to improve the system, it has ended up breeding corruption in the procurement process.

It is common knowledge that within the public sector, one area that helps people to enrich themselves within a short while is operators of the procurement system.

The system has been rendered secret or non-transparent to many people except those who are involved in benefitting profusely from the corrupt system.

Another problem with the procurement system is the use of sole sourcing which has been introduced in the procurement law for a purpose. Sole sourcing is to be used when time is of essence in the procurement of a very essential item that needs to be acquired without delay.

It has also been found out that many a time, the items procured do not meet the requirement of value for money. Items procured tend to be shoddy or sub-standard, an indication that very often money used for such purchases go down as waste.

All these things happen because the operators of the system deliberately manipulate loopholes for exploitation for selfish self-enrichment.

It is in the light of all these that the statement by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, to the effect that government is to roll out an electronic procurement system is considered welcoming news by all those who wish well for the country.

According to Dr Bawumia, an electronic procurement system will soon be rolled out in Ghana’s procurement system. He explained that it is meant to ensure that maximum transparency is guaranteed in all public procurements.

Procurement systems ought to guarantee transparency in the process. The reason is that many suppliers, for example, may be found to be vying to win contracts in the supply of certain items.

Unfortunately, the system is not made transparent for all parties to know who has been selected and the criteria used for that purpose.

Just announcing who the winner is without making known the criteria used is what gives much power to the operators of the system to abuse it through corruption to enrich themselves.

Some chief executives in organisations deliberately place their favourite officers in the procurement department to enable them operate the system in a manner that will make it possible for them to inflate prices to unreasonable levels and siphon out as much money as possible for themselves as well as the Chief Executive who placed them there to play that dirty role.

This is why the introduction of the electronic system must come on board without any further delay. The country needs to progress to higher levels and this is one of the areas that need to be rectified to sanitise and bring improvement into the system.

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