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General News Wed, 31 May 2017

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No more judgment debts - Adwoa Safo

The Minister of State responsible for Public Procurement, Sarah Adwoa Safo, says she has read, with much concern, media reports about the abrogation of government contracts by some Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

She has, therefore, warned all heads of entities within the MMDAs and MDAs to refer all questionable contracts to her office for expert and legal advice, before any decision is taken to either retain or abrogate them.

The reports on the abrogation of the contracts entered into by the previous administration, started a few days after the new MMDAs and MDAs assumed their respective roles. According to the Minister, the immediate past National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration used the sole sourcing clause in the Procurement Law to award dubious contracts to friends, families and cronies, in order to loot state coffers, which they succeeded in doing.

Adwoa Safo, who was speaking at the Special Training Session on the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663), as amended, and Public Financial Management Reform for Ministers and Heads of Agencies, said, notwithstanding this setback, government agencies should not rush in cancelling such contracts without proper legal advice.

The Minister said she had no doubt about the competence of the heads of entities to make a judgement on what a good contract is from a bad one, however, she believes it is always important to seek legal and expert advice, before a decision to abrogate a contract is taken.

Madam Adwoa Sarfo noted that the move would prevent any unnecessary legal battles between the government and contractors, which could eventually instigate the needless and avoidable payment of judgement debts.

In effect, she has, through a letter communicated to all heads of entities within MMDAS and MDAs, to stop terminating contracts forthwith. Furthermore, she directed that all queries on some of these contracts should be directed, or be referred to the office of the Minister of State responsible for Public Procurement for further investigations and recommendations.

The Minister’s prompt directive would further boost the confidence of investors, as that re-echoes President Akufo-Addo’s promise that his government is not going to embark on contract termination spree, despite the change of administration.

President Akufo-Addo said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government is investor-friendly, and can assure business owners that any genuine contract entered into with the previous government would not be abrogated.

When officials of Bolloré Transport & Logistics, APM Terminals and Meridian Port Services Limited – shareholders of the Tema Port expansion project – called on him at the Flagstaff House sometime this year, Nana Addo said: “If we can convince more and more companies like yours to invest in our country, then we can thrive as a nation.

“Be assured that the presence of a new government does not mean the abrogation of genuine contracts entered into by the previous government. You have my support to proceed.”

President Akufo-Addo stated that the major preoccupation of his government is the creation of a good business climate for businesses to thrive.

He was pleased that companies like Bolloré Transport & Logistics, APM Terminals and Meridian Port Services Limited have thought of Ghana as the place to do business and invest. The delegation was led by Cyrille Bolloré, Chairman of Bolloré Transport & Logistics.

Source: thechronicle.com.gh

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