Public procurement officers challenged to partake in state construction works

Procurement and supply chain management officers in the Civil Service have been advised to not distance themselves from the procurement process for construction works involving the state.
While admitting that the procurement process in construction works was complex, the Director of Procurement of the Civil Service, Dr Tett Affotey-Walters, said their involvement was crucial to ensure that the country had value in terms of competitiveness and ensuring transparency and fairness.
“Your work is not just about buying stationery and getting quotations for vehicles, you need to be involved in works because even a one-per cent savings in the procurement process for infrastructure could mean saving a lot for the country,” he said at the annual general meeting of the national executive of the Civil Service Procurement and Supply Chain Management Class Association (CSSMMCA) in Accra yesterday.
The AGM is used to discuss the challenges and prospects facing the association and the way forward.
Among others, the meeting reviewed its constitution and financial report and discussed its quadrennial general meeting and elections.
Dr Affotey-Walters, who spoke on the theme: “The role of Procurement and Supply Chain Management Class in National Development in the 21st Century,” said the role of procurement officers was extremely important because they had been trained to ensure that the process was transparent and free from all challenges.
Challenges/solutions
He, however, stated that the challenge the service faced was equipping its procurement officers and making them aware that their main role and focus was to ensure that they drove procurement in accordance with the Public Procurement law.
To deal with the situation, Dr Affotey-Walters said the service was doing all it could to close the gap between the requirements of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC), which deals with procedures for awarding civil engineering contracts and conventional procurement practice.
He urged some of the public sector institutions in which procurement officers were not part of tender committees and ministerial tender review boards not to sideline their procurement officers because that was what the law said.
Dr Affotey-Walters urged procurement and supply chain management officers not to reduce themselves to storekeepers but strive to add value to themselves as promotions would only come if they had the experience and competence to handle bigger responsibilities.
Sidelined
The Interim National President of the association, Mr Divine Kunjan, appealed to the Office of the Head of Civil Service (OHCS), the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), the Public Services Commission and the Ministry of Finance to ensure inter-stakeholder dialogue to drive sustainable public procurement in the country.
“There are a number of issues that the stakeholders especially the OHCS and the PPA should interrogate in the interest of the class, as it is faced with complaints about being maligned, vilified, sidelined and sometimes victimised for the purpose of making it convenient for their detractors to interfere with or virtually take over the role of procurement duties,” he said.
While appealing to the PPA to strengthen its monitoring and supervisory role in public procurement to ensure compliance with statutory requirements regarding the job description of procurement officers, Mr Kunjan also called on the OHCS to take up the issue and check on compliance.

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