President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday revealed that the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) criticism of contracts being inflated in the Mahama era has turned out to be credible.
Speaking at his second encounter with the media at the Flagstaff House in Accra the President said unlike the Mahama administration, his government saved GHS145 million through the procurement process since sole-sourcing was not the norm as it pertained in the Mahama government.
He said: “You’ll recall that as part of the election campaign, we said part of the reasons for the difficulties with the economy was the sole-sourcing of procurement by a government.
“Let me give you a few figures to illustrate this point. In the year 2016, the Public Procurement Authority had 622 sole sourced request. 577 of that number which is 98 per cent were approved and there were 25 rejections. There were 592 requests made for restricted tenders and 587 which is 99.15 per cent were approved and there were five rejections. A grand total of zero savings were made through the procurement process.
“In 2017, our first year in government, 394 sole-sourcing requests were made out of which 223, that is 56.6 percent were approved and 171 which is 43.6 percent were rejected. There were 346 requests for restricted tenders and 167 which is 48 percent were approved and 179 which is 52 percent were rejected. The savings made over the year, as a result, amounted to GHS145 million.
“As my old mathematics teacher used to say, you cannot argue with figures and such figures surely provide the incentives to open up government procurement.”
According to President Akufo-Addo, “this shows the credibility of our criticism that so much of the contracts awarded during the Mahama administration were inflated and in some cases non-existent.”
He further noted that all statutory debt accrued under the Mahama administration had been paid.
He said in his government’s bid to improve the microeconomic fundamentals, debts owed contractors and other people who had done work for the state were being paid.
“Government provided over GH¢300 million and the Road Fund provided GH¢660 million,” he said.
He added that by so doing, GH¢1 billion out of the GH¢1.6 billion owed road contractors was cleared.
“In January this year, we have disbursed out of a reminder of GH¢600 million to the contractors. Additionally, we have paid GH¢826 million of the GH¢1.6 million of the loan contracted by the previous administration for which the Road Fund was used as a collateral,” he told the press.
According to the President, the government had been able to transfer GH¢3.1 billion of tier two pension funds into the custodial account of the labour unions.
“These funds have been outstanding for six years and labour unions have been on a warpath with the government over it for some time now,” he said.
He also pointed out that other debts like those owed the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), District Assemblies Common Fund and the GETFund had been cleared.
President Akufo-Addo said salary arrears owed teachers from the period 2013 – 2016, which were recently settled, had also been settled.
“The regiment we have in place now is to pay government bills as they come due and not accrue arrears,” he stressed.
He said his government was resisting the temptation to award contracts when funds are not available to pay for the certificates as they come up.