As part of measures to block revenue leakages associated with government projects to protect the public purse, persons without licence will soon cease to operate as procurement officers in the country.
This will be made possible through a new bill, the Procurement Practicing Bill, which is at the draft stage, to regulate, sanitise and monitor the work of procurement officers in the country.
The President of the Ghana Institute of Procurement and Supply (GIPS), Simon Annan, made this known when officials of the institute engaged officials of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) as part of key stakeholders’ engagement to discuss issues concerning procurement.
Mr Annan said procurement formed 70 per cent of the national budget, and that it would serve the country well when properly done.
He indicated that procurement had become a means of siphoning money from public coffers, and, therefore, required more action to ensure that the right things were done to save the country from losing further resources.
The meeting was to establish collaboration between the two institutions to support each other in dealing with issues of procurement in the country.
As part of the collaboration, the institute was to provide capacity building for investigators of EOCO and to also support investigations in procurement related crime cases.
EOCO was also to input the draft bill to enable it tackle the issues of procurement when it became a law.
Currently, major issues in the country, including the National Cathedral, the Northern Development Authority, the Auditor-General’s report on COVID-19 fund, he noted, bordered on procurement.
Most of the infractions, he said, were caused by persons who did not handle issues of procurement professionally leading to losses and corruption, adding that there were many certified professionals who employers must engage to provide the needed professional services.
Mr Annan said the institution was putting in major efforts to ensure that the draft bill received the needed attention to become a law to regulate the work of procurement officers in the country.
“We think that procurement cannot be abused because it is a developmental tool, and, therefore, as an institute, we have to do things right to make sure that we sanitise the system,” he said.
The Executive Director of EOCO, Commissioner of Police Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, said the decision to provide capacity for investigators was in the right direction, and, therefore, EOCO was prepared to sign a memorandum of understanding with the institute for such engagement.
“If you are investigating procurement related issues and you the investigator don’t understand the issues, it would not yield the best result,” she said.
EOCO, she said, needed the collaboration and would offer all the needed support because it believed in building the right structures, and, therefore, working together would help to minimise the procurement infractions and block revenue leakages in the system.