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SUSTAINABLE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT; THE ROLE OF THE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT AUTHORITY 

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The public procurement budget for developing countries, particularly in Africa, has increased and now makes up about 60% of all government spending. To fulfill its agenda for sustainable development and earn the trust of the citizens, government must ensure the prudent use of its procurement budget. 

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Sustainable public procurement (SPP) simply means using public funds to purchase goods and services for sustainable development. SPP considers the effects on the environment, society, and economy, as well as the utilization of non-renewable resources in manufacturing processes, service provision, and reverse logistics. 

DIMENSIONS OF SUSTAINABLE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT   

SPP is based on three major dimensions: environmental, social, and economic 

The environmental dimension of SPP posits that products must be cohesive and have positive effects on the environment, either through their ability to be recycled, reused or through their energy efficiency through the use of renewable energy sources. 

The social component of SPP ensures that procurement is carried out to enhance the standard of the people without discrimination. For instance, developing structures with amenities for people with disabilities, as well as worker health and safety. 

The economic factor emphasizes the use of public procurement to provide value for money and long-term economic and societal advantages where it was sold and consumed. 

PUBLIC PROCUREMENT AUTHORITY 

The Public Procurement Act was formed by parliament in 2003 (Act 663) and most recently amended in 2016(Act 914). The objective of this act of parliament is to create a body whose mandate is to Improve procurement planning and enhancement of the economy through efficient, transparent and accountable public procurement process in Ghana called Public Procurement Authority (PPA). 

PPA established a supplier registration program in 2018 with the goal of uniting all consultants, contractors, and suppliers on a single platform. It was inspired by Rwandan feasibility studies presented to the World Bank for funding of an e-procurement system in 2013. 

Anyone in the country with internet access can register to become a supplier under the registration program. Applicants are required to pay a small enrollment fee and upload softcopies of their business documents. 

GHANEPS 

Ghana became the first country in West Africa to implement an electronic procurement system after the 

PPA completed the necessary requirements and rolled out the Ghana Electronic Procurement Systems (GHANEPS), funded by the World Bank, in November 2019 

On the GHANEPS system the procuring entity is required to draft an annual procurement plan using a template provided by the system, then an invitation or advertisement will be posted on the system. Invitations for Request for Quotations and Restrictive Tenders are only sent to the service providers chosen by the Entity to participate in the tender, National Competitive Tendering and International Competitive Tendering advertisements are published on the GHANEPS website. 

SUSTAINABLE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT; THE ROLE OF THE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT AUTHORITY 

 

After tender publication, service providers or suppliers can respond on the platform, by paying the participation fee, uploading the required documents and submitting their response on the GHANEPS website. The tender is the opened, evaluated and awarded on the platform.    

BEFORE GHANEPS   

Prior to GHANEPS, the bidder would have to purchase tender documents and present them to the procurement officer for review. Tender opening was done in an open space at the premises of the procuring entity where all applicants for the contract gather. 

The process was laborious and encouraged deforestation due to the use of paper for tender and contract documents and encouraged corruption because there are no one-on-one interactions with officers from the procuring entity. 

 

OTHER INITIATIVES 

 

The Public Procurement Authority and the Forestry Commission are collaborating to develop a policy to curb illegal logging. Two thirds of Ghana’s domestic lumber demand are primarily met by illegal chainsaw operators. To clamp down on this illegality, the policy will ensure that contracts involving the use of timber for construction, procured legally from suppliers that are registered with the Forestry Commission and the PPA else risk being declined by the PPA board. 

Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is leading a policy with the Energy Commission, Ghana Standard Authority(GSA) and the PPA to restrict the importation of used and refurbished electronic appliances by ensuring that PPA only approve contracts involving procurement of electronic appliances from suppliers who import and sell electronic appliances that meet EPA and GSA efficiency and performance standards. This policy will greatly advance sustainable public procurement. 

The authority’s CEO, Mr. Frank Mante, urged procurement officers, from various government agencies at a recently held workshop by the PPA, to adopt sustainable procurement strategies in preparing their procurement plans to ensure environmental protection and advance sustainable public procurement. 

Although the authority has received negative media attention in the past, it is important that government and well-meaning organizations provide the necessary support to its efforts in transforming the procurement practice in Ghana and to ensure its goal of sustainable development is achieved. 

 

AMBROSE GYASI, 

ASHONGMAN, ACCRA

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