Groups chase gov't for details of ¢2.75bn saved from reviewed contracts

Mr Ofori-Atta is Ghana’s Finance Minister[/caption] Twenty-one civil society groups in the country have joined hands to demand details on the 2.75 billion cedis the government claim to have saved the country through the review of sole-sourced contracts. Finance Minister at the presentation of the 2019 mid-year budget to parliament on July 29 patted the government on the back for judicious use of the taxpayer’s money, claiming it has in the last two-and-a-half years saved the nation 2.75 billion cedis from reviewing sole sourced and restrictive tendering. He gave the breakdown as 800 million cedis in 2017, 1.1 billion cedis in 2018, and 1.085 billion cedis in 2019. The Minister, Kenneth Ofori-Atta, however, failed to give details on the contracts from which the savings were made. Anti-corruption campaigners have since been demanding details on those contracts and how much was saved on each as well as the date those contracts were awarded and the initial contract sum among others. Government is yet to accede to the demands which were also echoed by the National Democratic Congress recently at a news conference in Accra. But the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) is leading 20 other civil society groups in the country to push government to release details on the savings which the government keeps touting as an achievement in its fight against corruption. The groups on Tuesday, September 17 issued a joint petition to the Finance Minister requesting for “detailed information” on the contracts whose revisions resulted in government saving 2.75 billion cedis. “Given that the said savings of GHC2.75 billion was allegedly attained through a thorough scrutiny of contracts that were either sole-sourced or procured through restrictive tendering, it is imperative for these contracts to be made public to aid an appreciation of Government’s commitment to value for money and the protection of the public purse,” the petition said in part. According to the groups, such a disclosure will be in accordance with the “principle of transparency and accountability in governance”. The Chief of Staff, Minister of State in charge of Public Procurement and the acting Chief Executive of the Public Procurement Authority have been copied in the petition signed by Beauty Emefa Narteh, Executive Secretary of GACC. The groups specifically want Mr Ofori-Atta to give the name of the each contract and the awarding entity, the initial cost and revised cost at which each contract was awarded and the company or companies to which the contracts were awarded Additionally, they want the government to make public when each of the contracts were awarded. The group want the information provided within 14 working days upon receipt of the petition, but did not say what the next line of action will be should the Minister fail to provide the information.

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