Corruption has taken Ghana to the dark ages – Financial Expert
He, therefore, described Ghana as a ‘‘man drowning and clutching at straws’’ and warned that if the managers of the economy failed to salvage the situation, the country would be doomed and plunged into economic quagmire.
Mr Thompson, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, England, said this when delivering the keynote address at the launch of an online portal of the Smartbid Company Limited in Accra on Wednesday.
He said corruption had become ‘‘a smoking gun’’ and mentioned scandals that rocked some state agencies including, the National Service Secretariat, the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency and Savannah Accelerated Development Authority that robbed the nation of millions of cedis.
Mr Thompson is the Businessman of the Year 2016, conferred on him by the Ghana Economic Forum for Top Leadership, Innovation, Employment Creation and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Speaking on the topic: ‘Using Technology to Fight Corruption’’ he said corruption had affected the future of this country, adding “ monies that could have been utilised to provide quality health care to the less-privileged children have been wasted, children are dying of malaria because they are living in filth and we must deal with it”.
“There are many committees constituted to investigate those corrupt deals in the public sector, what has been done to those implicated?” he asked.
“As a country we must face reality and ensure transparency in the procurement and financial management processes, therefore, we need value for money and ensure that the monies go to the right places and the best people get the job,’’ he said.
Mr Simon Annan, the Co-founder of Smartbid Company Limited, said the company was a wholly-owned Ghanaian company comprising a team with combined experience of over 50 years in supply chain management, procurement, technology and entrepreneurship.
It aims at assisting companies, especially small and medium-scale enterprises, to overcome the challenges of procurement processes and services and enhance business productivity in the country.
Mr Annan said it created the electronic business platform that would enable suppliers and buyers to interact; access information on procurement processes and create business opportunities among industry players.
He said 25,000 companies had been registered onto the portal that would enable them to bid for government contracts and projects in a credible and transparent manner.
He observed that without transparency in the procurement process, Ghana’s agenda for industrialisation would be fruitless, adding that the “One-District, One-Factory Policy” would be realised only when the Government ensured transparency in the procurement process to engender development.
Mr Annan said about 70 percent of the national budget went into government procurement, therefore, there must be a national procurement strategy to ensure that certain quota of government contracts went to the local enterprises for them to remain competitive and grow.
He noted that the cost of government procurement was huge because most of the bidding processes were manual and, therefore, called for activation of the electronic-procurement clause in the Public Procurement Act, (Act 914) promulgated in 2016.
He said the country’s procurement structure was fragmented and gave the assurance that the portal would create a common point for businesses to apply for government contracts and advertise their products.
The management of the online platform would download tender documents onto the system so that companies and entrepreneurs could subscribe to it and bid for government contracts, he added
He said: “There are three procurement costs namely; the pre-acquisition cost, the actual cost and the post-acquisition cost. However, we will focus on the pre-acquisition cost comprising the consultancy services, preparation of the tender documents and publication of the tender documents which add up to the cost of the procurement’’
He said the portal would take care of the pre-acquisition cost and this would reduce the contract cost and the nation could save monies for other pressing national needs.
This, according to him, would create competitive bidding for government projects and reduce human interface as well as eliminate corruption in the procurement processes.
He said proper procurement process would save the nation an estimated GH¢20 million annually and ensure high productivity.
He said the portal was partnering the Public Procurement Authority, the Ghana Association of Industries and the Ghana Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Ghana Chamber of Mines, the Ghana Institute of Supply among others and urged interested businesses to visit them online at www.smartbidgh.com for more information and registration.