This article focuses on the perception of the Public Procurement Act 663 as amended from a practitioner’s point of view. In view of this, an interview was conducted with the Procurement Manager for the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority Mr Benjamin Baidoo. Below are excerpts from the interview.
Q4. How has the amendments affected the practice of your job as a practitioner? Positively/ Negatively?
Prior to the Amendment of the Act, the Entity Tender Committee (ETC) was constituted with Board and Management staff; with representation from the sector Ministry or the Attorney General’s Office but after the reconstitution of the ETC, professionals bodies are now allowed make representations on Reflections on Act 633 as Amended: A Year On (Part 1) these committees; and offer professional advice to the decision making regarding procurement. In my opinion, this brings value to most organization. I am happy to note that, at least, there is professional representation at the decision making stage. This does not serve as a governance check on public entities, but more importantly, the principle of ensuring that public entities achieve value for money in all its procurement processes. Secondly, Hitherto, the slightest amount which is above Twenty Thousand Cedis (GH20, 000) for goods will have to go through a National Competitive Tendering (NCT) and sometimes if one is not careful, you even incur additional cost after completing the entire cycle which would have been better by resorting to the traditional request for Quotation (RFC) method. Thus, often times, by quantifying the total cost of acquisition alone; proportionate to the budget for the planned procurement serves as a distinctive to tread on the trajectory. And I will say that the Amendment has brought speed to the procurement procedures ostensibly due to the revised thresholds. And indeed, it has had an impact on my organization because we are able to get materials on time to meet critical deadlines.
Q5. To you what is the single most important clause/ section that was amended? Why?
Schedule 3 (B1) of Act 663 under Thresholds for Review/Approval was my single most important clause or section that needed to be reviewed. It was one of the aspects that was of great concern to most practitioners. According to the amended law, Act 914 “A Procurement Unit” has been clearly defined in the Amended Act under section 19. This is a great relief because you realize that, in most of the public entities, most officers who are handling procurement do not have the requisite professional educational qualification (s) in procurement. And therefore most people do not abide by the ethics and conduct of the profession; the end results are the many infractions and miss-procurement we have been witnessing in recent times. And for me I would plead with PPA to see the implementation of section 19 of the Amended Act 914 that enjoins the Head of Procurement Entity of Ministry, Department and Agency, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to establish a Procurement Unit within the Entity which shall be headed and staffed by qualified procurement personnel. PPA should ensure that the aforementioned Section is vigorously pursued to its logical conclusion. This will go a long way to help most entities because entities to employ people with the right training, attitude and skill set to lead the procurement processes in order to achieve value for money.
Q6. Do you think there are still some challenges or limitations with the Act 663 as amended?
A lot of work went into the amendment for instance, the re-composition of the ETC, the fact that it ensures good corporate governance by detaching the Governing Board in the day to day activities of the organization and bringing in experts to contribute are all some of the positive changes and or high points of the Amended Act 663. It was amended only a year ago so it needs to be in existence for some time before we can highlight certain areas that needs to be addressed.
Q7. What are your recommendations or suggestions, moving forward?
I would plead with the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to create awareness on the Amended Act. People need to be educated so I will urge PPA to conduct some form of training programs on the Amended Act. On a scale of 1-10, I would score the Amended Act 8 over 10.
Click here to read Part 1: Reflections on Act 633 as Amended: A Year On (Part 1)
Assistant Corporate Affairs Officer