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29 August 2017

Procurement arrangements for Free SHS policy laudable – Adwoa Safo

The Minister of State in charge of Public Procurement, Sarah Adwoa Safo, has commended the Ministry of Education, particularly the sector minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, for strictly adhering to the procurement laws in the various procurement activities his outfit is undertaking for the implementation of the free Senior High School (SHS) policy.

She said given the components that constitute Free SHS, she noticed that the program was going to be laden with a lot of procurement activities and in order not to flout the procurement regulations.

Adwoa Safo made the remarks when paid a working visit the Ministry of Education on Monday to learn at first hand, the kind of procurement methods being used and to advise accordingly.

Adwoa Safo noted that Free SHS is an important government flagship programme which has attracted attention due to the huge relief it seeks to bring to parents of students at the second cycle level. She, therefore, commended education Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh making sure the procurement process is not breached.

She used the opportunity to also advice Dr. Opoku Prempeh and his team to be mindful of a new directive from cabinet to seek approval of any procurement that exceeds the GH₵50million threshold.

The Public Procurement Minister used the occasion to inform the Education Minister and his team about some policies her outfit will be implementing to strengthen the country’s procurement system to ensure value for money.

It includes strengthening the capacities of local contractors, as the government has made a policy where 70% of all projects shall be awarded to local contractors. Out of this, 30% of the contracts shall be awarded to Persons With Disability (PWDs), women and those in youth employment.

“It is a policy the government under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is committed to implementing. Very soon, my office will come out with how it is going to be done,” she noted.

She also told Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh and his team about efforts her Ministry is putting in place to get the two existing Public Procurement Act (Act 663) and Public Procurement (Amended) Act (Act 914) harmonized for easy referencing.

She also disclosed plans by her office to establish an e-platform to provide the database for all contractors involved in government projects, to enable them rate their performances from time to time.

“With this database, the citizenry could at any given time, assess the performance of all the contractors to know who is doing well and who is doing badly,” she explained.

On his part, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, expressed his outfit’s appreciation to Adwoa Safo for the visit and noted that the government’s flagship free SHS policy would be implemented with due regard to the laws of the land.

He said the policy which is packed with equity, quality and employable skills, would be rolled out in three weeks. He was optimistic that its successful implementation will inure to the benefits of all.

The Education Minister further noted that despite the heavy investment the government is putting into the implementation of the Free SHS policy, his outfit would also ensure that subsidies for continuing students, capitation grant and teacher-trainee allowances are promptly paid.

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