WITHIN the past few weeks, concerns about procurement infractions in some state agencies and institutions have dominated discussions by the public.

The concerns are justified because the published Auditor-General’s report noted that 80 per cent of corruption in the public sector was linked to procurement.

The concerns were further heightened following an investigative piece conducted by Manasseh Azure which resulted in President Nana Akufo-Addo calling on the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate allegations against suspended Chief Executive Officer of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Adjenim Boateng Adjei.

It is in light of these that the Ghanaian Times finds the intervention by the Office of the Minister of State in charge of Procurement and the Ministry of Regional Reorganisation and Development to train public officers on procurement timely.

The training is to equip the public officers on procurement issues and keep them abreast with provisions of the Procurement Act in the administration of the new regions.

Participants included the regional ministers and their deputies, regional coordinating directors, procurement and finance officers, amongst other critical staff of the regional coordinating directorate of the six newly created regions.

Topics including legal framework of public procurement in Ghana, procurement methods, procurement ethics and code of conduct, were discussed and deliberated on.

We cannot, as a country, clamp down on procurement infractions if the very people mandated to procure for state agencies and institutions are not well-equipped with the knowledge and know-how.

Although we acknowledge that some of the infractions could be deliberately orchestrated for one’s gains, knowledge gaps can also give way to avoidable infractions leading to huge financial losses to the state.

Some people at times do not bend the procurement rules to shortchange the state but because they do not understand the law, they are inclined to make those mistakes.

Progress in minimising procurement infractions could be achieved if managers of state agencies and institutions, including the regions understood the procurement laws and applied it diligently.

For far too long, some people have taken advantage of their knowledge deficit to defraud the state and it is about time we collectively worked to stop it.

Training of public officers on the procurement law is the first step and we commend the two ministries for collaborating in an attempt to ultimately cure the menace.

We, therefore, call on the government to intensify and extend the training to include all public officers that are directly involved in the procurement processes of all state institutions.

We further urge the government to deal ruthlessly with anyone who flouts the procurement law under the guise of innocence of the law because ignorance of the law is no excuse.

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