The legality of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s decision to purchase GHc9 million worth of chemicals to combat armyworms on a sole-source basis, allegedly without the Public Procurement Authority’s approval, was questioned on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday.
Responding to questions on the matter, a Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Sagre Bambangi, disclosed that the Ministry only roped in the Public Procurement Authority after the GHc 9 million arrangements for the insecticides had been made.
[contextly_sidebar id=”stfDiP3UIPEW5Ow4LBTBvhoqtErKc21q”]”The Ministry having secured the above facility, consequently requested for a retrospective approval from the Public Procurement Authority, for an emergency supply of insecticides to control the fall armyworms.”
“The Public Procurement Authority granted the request of the use of Single Source Procurement Method, to engage various supplies to undertake the procurement of insecticide in accordance with section 40(1) (c) of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663),” Dr. Bambangi said.
The section in question, however says nothing about retrospective approval as it notes that: “a procurement entity may engage in single source procurement under section 41 with the approval of the board… where owing to a catastrophic event, there is an urgent need for the goods, works or technical services, making it impractical to use any other methods of procurement because of the time involved in using those methods.”
The Ashaiman Member of Parliament, Ernest Norgbey, highlighted this fact, as he questioned the legality of the retrospective approval.
But the Deputy Minister responded by saying that “if it were wrong, the Public Procurement Authority would not have done same.”
The Ministry of Agriculture collaborated with UN Food an Agriculture Organisation and Centre for Agriculture Biosciences International, for the recommended insecticides registered in Ghana, and also registered for the control of fall armyworms in Brazil, USA and other African countries.
After the recommendations, the Minister invited companies which had registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and appealed to them to supply on credit.
In all, 12 companies were assembled by the government, but not in a competitive bidding process, to supply the insecticides to fight the armyworms, due to the urgent nature of the situation.
The NPP administration has repeatedly criticized the previous administration for engaging in all forms of sole-sourcing contracts which did not ensure value for money, and in most cases breached Public Procurement regulations.
They have thus pledged to ensure that such reckless sole-sourcing contracts are not the order of the day.
By: Duke Mensah Opoku & Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana