PUBLIC Procurement is at the middle of the way public money is spent, budget is translated into services in large part through the working of the public procurement system.
The construction of schools, bridges and roads, drilling of wells, conservation of arable land, factories, silos for storage of grains, construction of buildings for workers as well as the acquisition of medicine and text books, laboratory equipment, laptops and computers and furniture occurred in most countries through the nation’s public systems.
Therefore, the ability for political leaders to meet their promises of economic and social improvement is closely related to how well public procurement functions.
Public procurement process to launch Ghana e-procurement system dubbed Ghana electronic procurement system that is GHANPES. This singular effort made Ghana the first country in the West African sub region to establish an electronic procurement system for public system.
The implementation is part of the e-transformed process being undertaken by government through the Ministry of Communications with funding support from the World Bank
E-Procurement or electronic procurement refers to the process of purchase of goods or services through electronic means, primarily the internet. It is an alternative to the manual/paper process of procurement, and it certainly surprise to the later in money respect. Countries are increasingly opting for an e-procurement platform realising its potential to curb irregularities unnecessarily cost in the procurement process.
In this regard GHANEPS is very important to the public procurement authority and the country as a whole. The importance of electronic procurement within our public procurement space and therefore made it a priority to ensure that GHANEPS implementation is executed efficiently to ensure that the nation reaps all its benefits.
BENEFITS OF E-PROCUREMENT TO THE PUBLIC SECTOR
As an Authority, we are particularly driven by the benefit of the system for transparency and restoration of public confidence in our public procurement system. For examples, GHANEPS can tackle the malpractice of cartel formation to a great extent. It will ensure safety of all information being provided by users. This data safety is at times compromised in the manual procurement process.
GHANEPS provides an effective and efficient way of improving procurement while saving taxpayers money, all the more crucial as government faces increasing spending pressures.
Use of online services for procurement activities gives wider participation of service providers leading to increased competition. It also saves business time by speeding up order to delivery times and is a more sustainable way of doing business for government.
Transparency is ensured as evaluation and award process is conducted online with minimum human intervention. Information made available online by the e-procurement process enables interested parties such as civil societies, suppliers, contractors etc. to instantly access information associated with each tender and award process.
The Public Entities, Service providers and the general public are to take note that, entities that live on GHANEPS are urged to conduct all the procurement via the system. This includes Request for Quotation, National Competitive Tendering, International Competitive Tendering, Restrictive Tendering and Single Source.
The Public Procurement Authority (PPA) will cease to process manual applications and request from entities who are live on the system but are not active users of it.
Entities using GHANEPS will also not need to separately upload their procurement plan on PPAs annual procurement plan system, publish their tenders on PPAs website or publish their award contract on PPAs website.
In conclusion, the government is committed to its digitisation agenda with GHANEPS as typical all stakeholders acknowledge that, effective change management with sufficient training and support of users is key to the success of the implementation of GHANEPS.
Procurement has taken a new turn with the slogan “Emu da hƆ” (transparent).
The Writer is with the Public Procurement Authority, Kumasi
BY SAMUEL KOBINA ASANTE