Ofori-Atta runs from restrictive tendering for PDS

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Sat, 2 Nov 2019 Source: The Herald

Ghana will no longer adopt a restrictive tendering process in finding a new partner to continue the botched concession agreement with the Power Distribution Service (PDS).

According to the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, the new development follows the US government’s withdrawal of the second tranche amount of US$190 million.

The Minister announced, that Ghana would now adopt a more opened tendering process in selecting a new partner to replace PDS.

Speaking to Bernard Avle on Citi TV‘s current affairs programme, The Point of View on Wednesday, he said, following the withdrawal of the money which had timelines, Ghana now has ample time to adopt a more opened tendering process in selecting a new partner.

“We used the term ‘restrictive tendering’ because we were then negotiating with the MCC and also looking at the people who were shortlisted in the bid through the process which we could no longer accelerate to do that. Presumably, [now that the MCC has withdrawn the US$190 million], we don’t necessarily have to do that through restrictive tendering. We want to give ourselves a sense of time and we clearly want to move ahead and get that behind us,” the Finance Minister said.

Government after announcing the termination of its power concession agreement with PDS indicated that it will select a new partner through a restrictive tendering process without compromising the integrity of the procurement process.

This was met with stiff opposition as many groups told the government to ensure a competitive and transparent process in the selection of a new investor to participate in the concession and therefore urged the government to immediately change the planned procurement method.

Some even warned that the government’s decision to use a restrictive tendering to select a successor to PDS may yield a worse outcome.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) also kicked against the government’s intention to replace PDS through restrictive tendering, describing it as laughable.

According to the party, the Akufo-Addo government could not be trustedto carry out the process with due diligence, as its negligence led to the cancellation of the PDS deal.

Many views have been expressed concerning the termination of the concession which was less than a year old.

While some accused the government of negligence and inability to thoroughly scrutinize the concession agreements to identify the breaches early enough, others have lauded the government for terminating the deal although it has resulted in the country losing out on US$190 million MCC grant.

The Minister of Finance, downplayed fears that the termination of the PDS deal will adversely affect the relationship between the Government of Ghana and the United States of America.

He said it was healthy that both countries shared varied views concerning the future of the agreement.

While accepting that Ghana’s decision cost the country some US$190 million, he said the US also lost the opportunity to use Ghana to evacuate power, although the country had a more favourable environment for that to be done.

The Finance Minister said that the two nations are focused on building a much stronger relation following the PDS debacle.

“In every relationship, there will be a point of departure. The point of departure is the interpretation of events and that is okay. I think that it is healthy but what does that mean? It means that America does not get to use Ghana to evacuate power because I think that we are the best place to get it done and then we also do not get US$190 million. But the relationship is much stronger than that. I suspect that this too will pass and we will go on to be great partners,” he said.

According to him, the US government’s withdrawal of the second tranche amount of US$190 million now gives Ghana more time to select the partner.

The government had initially planned to use restrictive tendering to select the new partner due to the limited time it had.

Source: The Herald
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