Ghana is in a new era of using Information Communication Technology (ICT) for government service delivery. This comes in the wake of the overall agenda to digitize the economy to improve efficiency and coverage. The internet’s rapid growth in recent times has driven many governments to add electronic commerce to their operations to enhance value for money in their spending. Electronic Government Procurement popularly referred to as e-GP is a comprehensive process in which governments use ICT (including the Internet) to establish agreements for the acquisition of goods, works and services. Since the mid-1990s, many governments have actively adopted e-GP tools such as Web-based proposal requests and Internet bidding, digital signatures for procurement documents, reverse auctions, electronic ordering, automated procurement systems, and purchasing cards among others. In Ghana, the implementation of the e-GP forms part of a wider Public Financial Management Reforms (PFMR) Programme.
The system for e-GP in Ghana is known as GHANEPS (Ghana Electronic Procurement System). Its implementation originates from June 2011 when PriceWaterHouse Coopers (PwC) was engaged as consultants for the systematic development of an e-GP in Ghana. They developed the strategic plan for the implementation. In 2017, a firm was chosen through an international competitive tendering process to partner with the government in providing a system with full end-to-end e-GP functionalities. The application was developed with the input of five pilot Government Entities. The five selected entities were the Department of Feeder Roads, Ghana Cocoa Board, Ghana Health Service, Koforidua Technical University and Tema Metropolitan Assembly. On April 30, 2019, Vice President, His Excellency Dr Mahamudu Bawumia launched GHANEPS. The first phase (I) of the implementation culminated in a six-month pilot run with the five entities. In November 2019, the Phase II of the implementation was initiated, with the objective of rolling the system out to all government entities in Ghana. As part of the rollout, public entities and the private sector are sensitized, trained, and supported in the use of the system. The Roll-Out is being carried out in a phased approach and is targeted to be completed by the end of this year.
Many African countries are adopting electronic procurement systems to improve public sector governance and move beyond traditional, paper-based procurement. In recent times, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tunisia are some of the countries that have adopted and implemented e-GP in Africa. Ghana became the first country within the West Africa Sub Region to establish e-GP in 2019. Ghana’s adoption of the e-GP can generate benefits for both government, procurement practitioners as well as the private sector. According to the World Bank, the electronic procurement system will improve governments ‘ability to generate data and analyse performance in capital budget spending in real-time, thus increasing transparency in government procurement. The use of the Open Data Contracting System helps improve efficiency and effectiveness, subsequently leading to achieving Value for Money and the detection of corruptive collusive, fraudulent, and coherent practices. The implementation of e-GP leads to lower prices of goods, works and services because of increased competition. Increased competition also creates opportunities for small businesses which were previously unavailable in the manual public procurement process. In addition, e-GP streamlines the procurement processes leading to massive minimization in the public procurement space.
Implementation Status and Achievements:
Currently, over 750 public entities have been engaged from 13 regions across Ghana and are in various stages of the roll-out. 176 training sessions have been organised for the entities with over 6,000 of their staff taking part, this includes 3,018 Procurement Officers. For the private sector, 96 training sessions have been organised, with 3,029 companies participating.
For GHANEPS to deliver its objectives and benefits, it must be widely used by public entities after the roll-out. Therefore, as we approach the completion of training and setup of all entities on the system, we are turning our attention to usage enforcement. While GHANEPS usage has steadily increased, we have observed with concern that the pace is slow. As part of usage enforcement, the government will start several measures in the coming months to ensure optimum usage. Among these measures is integrating GHANEPS with the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) to limit supplier payments in GIFMIS to procurement conducted through GHANEPS. Suppliers, Contractors, and Consultants on GIFMIS will risk not getting their payment processed when they conduct procurement outside GHANEPS. Another measure to be introduced is the refusal of the processing of any request to PPA from public entities who do not use the system. The Government is also working with Donor partners to refuse the disbursement of funds to Entities that do not conduct their procurement through GHANEPS.
The public will receive more information about the measures in due course.
Notice to Suppliers
The Private Sector is a critical actor within the public procurement space and is therefore a key stakeholder in the implementation of GHANEPS. Service providers (Suppliers, Contractors, and Consultants) have been an integral part of the roll-out from the beginning. There are free training sessions provided for service providers. Service providers also participate in the day-in-a-life sessions which are organised for entities.
The Public Procurement Authority (PPA) would like to emphasize the need for the private sector to be trained and is hereby calling on all service providers who are yet to participate to take advantage of upcoming training sessions.
Visitwww.ppa.gov.gh website, or call the helpline (0551858858, 0551866866, 0551866668, 0551866688, 0551858855, 0551858588) to find out more about the ongoing training sessions.
Source: The Public Procurement Authority, 6th Floor SSNIT Emporium, Airport City, Accra, Ghana.