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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ghana crowd sourcing procurement accountability?

Government Award Of Contracts Will Be Scrutinised
A Programme and procurement implementation management information system has been launched to ensure transparency in the award and execution of government contracts. The new accounting software is also to provide a framework that will give Ghanaians the platform to be abreast of happenings in government agencies in the country.

The project, which is under the auspices of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), is primarily to halt the arbitrary award of contracts and to help the government in the fight against corruption in the country. At the launch of the system, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Kwasi Opong Fosu, said the enterprise was an initiative of President Mahama to bring transparency and accountability to the planning, contracting, procurement, monitoring and implementation processes of public projects and programmes.

The motive for the establishment of the contract portal, the minister added, was to ensure proletarian democracy, hence the need to engage the public to influence decision making by the government. “Citizens of Ghana want transparency and accountability and expect their government to involve them in decision making,” he said.

The MLGRD, he said, had decided to embark on an open government initiative to meet its mandate for good local governance and grassroots democracy.
I truly hope this turns out to be more robust than the kick-the-can approach it seems at first blush. Government itself must take the lead in policing and scrutinizing contract awards, and cannot abandon responsibility to a public process. As we see in Guam, even a full court coverage by the press does not seem to stem the flow of procurement train wrecks.

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