The Minister of State in charge of Public Procurement, Sarah Adwoa Safo, has commended the Ministry of Education, particularly sector Minister Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, for strictly adhering to the procurement laws in the various procurement activities his office is undertaking for the implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy.
The lawmaker said cognisant of the fact that the components that constitute Free SHS were laden with a lot of procurement activities, she decided to pay a working visit to the Minister on Monday to learn at first hand, the kind of procurement methods being used and to advise accordingly in order that the procurement laws are not flouted.
Adwoa Safo noted that Free SHS is an important government flagship programme which has attracted diverse opinions and now that it is to be implemented in a few weeks, there was the need to avoid further controversies especially, regarding the procurement processes.
After being briefed by Dr Opoku Prempeh over how his office was going about the procurement processes, Ms Safo commended the Education Minister and his team for a good job done.
She used the opportunity to also advise Dr Opoku Prempeh and his team to be mindful of a new directive from cabinet that requires that any procurement that exceeds the GH?50million threshold gets approval from the presidency.
The Public Procurement Minister used the occasion to inform the Education Minister and his team about some of the policies she is implementing to strengthen the country’s procurement system to ensure value for money.
For instance, she said in order to strengthen the capacities of local contractors, the government has made it a policy where 70% of all its contracts or projects shall be awarded to local contractors.
Out of this 70%, 30% of the contracts or projects shall be awarded to Persons With Disability (PWDs), women and those in youth employment.
“It is a policy the government, under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is committed to implementing. Very soon, my office will come out with how it is going to be done,” she noted.
She also told Dr Opoku Prempeh and his team about her efforts to get the two existing Public Procurement Acts (Act 663) and Public Procurement (Amended) Act (Act 914), harmonised for easy reading and referencing.
She also disclosed plans by her office to establish an e-platform where a database of all contractors involved in government projects will be set up to enable them rate their performance from time to time.
“With this database, the citizenry could at any given time, assess the performance of all the contractors to know who is doing well and who is doing badly,” she explained.
For his part, Dr Opoku Prempeh expressed his office’s appreciation to Ms Safo’s visit and noted that the government’s flagship Free SHS policy would be implemented with due regard to the laws of the land.
He said the policy, which is packed with equity, quality and employable skills, would be rolled out in three weeks’ time and was optimistic that its successful implementation will inure to the benefit of all.
The Education Minister further noted that despite the heavy investment the government is making in the implementation of the Free SHS policy, his office would also ensure that subsidies for continuing students, capitation grant and teacher trainee allowances are promptly paid.