A competitive procurement environment plays a vital role in ensuring value for money in disbursements from the public purse, as it provides wider choices for consumers and stimulates innovation and better service quality at competitive rates.
It is also a fundamental tenet of a well-functioning economy, in that it encourages companies to provide consumers with the products and services they want at lower prices with higher quality and, most importantly, efficiency in allocation of resources.
The need for a regulatory regime that provides a level playing field for contract bidders and protects the national coffers from excess spending has been the advocacy of CUTS-Ghana, a policy think-tank in the country.
The B&FT sides with the argument of the think-tank that the passage of a binding competition law and policy will help to curb negative contributory factors to the malfeasances which limit the main objectives of the public procurement process — such as collusion between suppliers, price fixing, abusive monopoly and deliberate mergers and acquisitions to crowd out weaker companies in the bidding process.
This paper is much aware of the need to safeguard the public purse, as public procurement is basically about using the taxpayers’ money to purchase goods and services to be used by and for the state.
It has been estimated that about US$400billion per annum changes hands through corruption in public procurement around the world — that for Africa is US$127 billion, more than the combined donor aids received from Europe, America and Asia.
In sub-Saharan Africa, it is reported that corruption exists in about 70% of public contracts, which inevitably lead to a rise of 20-30% in contracts sums.
“Where competition abounds, there is innovation, best possible choice of quality as well as better goods and services at lowest prices. Vigorous competition among suppliers also helps to enhance the economy by generating demand and consumption,” Appiah Kusi Adomako, coordinator of CUTS-Ghana, said at a recent event in Accra.
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