KEYNOTE ADDRESS DELIVERED BY HIS EXECLLENCY, THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA, AT THE OPENING CEREMONY FOR THE SPECIAL TRAINING SESSION ON PUBLIC PROCUREMENT ACT, 2003 (ACT 663) AS AMENDED & PUBLIC FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT REFORMS FOR HON. MINISTERS & HEADS OF AGENCIES MONDAY, 29TH MAY, 2017
Honourable Ministers of State,
Honourable Deputy Ministers,
Chief Executive of PPA
Heads of State Institutions,
Officials of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA),
Friends from the Media,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is a great pleasure to be with you today for this all important programme.
I wish to congratulate the Chief Executive for taking up this initiative in collaboration with the Office of the President to organise this 6-day Special Training programme for Honourable Ministers, Ministers of State, Deputy Ministers, Chief Directors, Heads of Agencies and Key Directors of State Institutions.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as you may be aware, the importance of public procurement in any growing economy cannot be overemphasised. It occupies a large percentage of government business and represents one of the key nerve centres in the process of translating national budgets into goods, works and services to meet national development outcomes.
It is a very important area also because one can hazard a guess that maybe 90% of corruption that we have is related to public procurement because of its very nature. So this is why the President in his wisdom has recognised that we need to pay particular attention to this issue.
That is why he has appointed a Minister of State dedicated to public procurement to work alongside the Public Procurement Authority, so that the executive will also have a very laser focus into what is going on in public procurement in the country.
Indeed, the ultimate realisation of the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA II), the Sustainable Development Goals, our ‘One-District-One Factory’ and the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ initiatives are very much hinged on the effective implementation of wider public financial management reforms (PFMR) and the current public procurement regime.
We all know what the importance of fiscal discipline is in the management of our economy. Without fiscal discipline, the budget goes out of track, we have more inflation, more exchange rate depreciation, you have higher interest rate. The cornerstone of fiscal discipline has been really captured in two Acts, the Public Financial Management Act and the Public Procurement Act. These two Acts are very key for us and therefore understanding them and the implementation of them is going to be critical for the ability of this government to maintain and sustain fiscal discipline.
In view of this, the policy thrust of the 2017 Budget Statement under the theme ‘Sowing the Seeds for Growth and Jobs’ gives an indication of how government intends to pursue strict enforcement of the anticorruption agenda through effective fiscal discipline and the enforcement of all the provisions of the PFM Law and the Public Procurement Act as amended.
Distinguished participants, over the years, we have all been witnesses to how aspects of fiscal governance in the country have not been carried out with the expected discipline and dedication for good outcomes. We have seen and heard of incidences of abuse of the procurement processes especially the reliance on the infamous sole sourcing approach.
Sole sourcing is actually quite legal and there are circumstances under which it is necessary but it should not be abused.
Ghana, like most evolving economies has fully adopted the decentralised system of public procurement of goods, services and works since the mid-2000s as part of the public financial reforms.
However, the rules and regulations on public procurement in Ghana have been occasionally flouted by government appointees and public servants who are supposed to be the great custodians of the procurement law. I have had the occasion in the past, when we were in opposition to list and discuss some of such infractions of the law.
Given the unnegotiable significance of public procurement in the governance of our country and the resounding victory granted by the good people of Ghana on the aegis of the trust that the NPP government is more capable of handling corruption head-on, the 4-month old government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is desirous of doing government business on the right footing.
Hence this Special Training programme is designed to build the capacity of government appointees and Heads of institutions on the essential provisions of the Public Procurement Law, PFM Law and the Budget preparation processes in order to avoid some of the mistakes of the past and achieve more tangible development results for Ghana.
For all of you here, at one time or the other you will be held accountable for your stewardship of the various institutions that you are in. One of the key areas of accountability will be in accountability for procurement, because this is where we are able to protect the public purse.
So as well as protecting the public purse, I think this training programme will also help you to protect yourselves going down the line, because at one point or the other you will be asked to account for your stewardship.
Having emphasised the importance of this forum, let me take this opportunity to thank you for taking time off your busy schedules to come and contribute to this capacity building process.
I also wish to recognise the good work that PPA is doing especially, with the introduction of current interventions at the PPA such as the establishment of the Due Diligence Unit, Procurement Audit Unit and the soon to be rolled-out e-Government Procurement System. under the distinguished leadership of its current Chief Executive Mr. A .B Adjei.
Congratulations! But gird up your loins for real work in the years ahead. I expect the e-Government procurement system to be rolled out next month as you promised us.
In conclusion, I charge you all, in the words of our President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to “work with integrity to protect the public purse by guaranteeing value for money in all public transactions and exercise prudence and discipline in our fiscal management and deliver the aspirations of the Ghanaian People.
Inefficiencies and waste in government spending will not be tolerated”. I challenge you this day to rise above the rhetoric and focus on greater performance that will deliver broader national development outcomes for our dear country.
This is what Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo the president expects of all of us.
With these remarks, I declare this 6-day Special Training program open and wish you all, fruitful deliberations.
Thank you for your kind attention.