Publish intention to procure items through single-sourcing – Martin Kpebu to govt

Private legal practitioner, Lawyer Martin Kpebu, has cautioned the Government of Ghana to think beyond the law by publishing any intention to procure anything through single-sourcing for the fight against COVID -19 before a decision to procure is concluded.

Speaking on the Corruption Watch show on Adom FM, he disclosed that although the procurement law permits the practice of single-sourcing during emergencies like in the case of COVID -19, first publishing the intension before activating that provision by the law will attract proposals from experts to ensure that only people with the requisite expertise are contracted to avoid errors and regrets.

For instance, if one wants to import Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), publishing the intention to procure will help identify experts to give the contract to, instead of a desired person to give the contract to, this will ensure transparency and accountability in procurement during this period.

Lawyer Kpebu, however, believes that a breach of the procurement law during this pandemic is possible as the outbreak took everyone by surprise causing unplanned and emergency purchases of PPEs, distribution of food to the vulnerable among others. 

“If we have had procurement breaches even in normal times, how much more during a pandemic?” he quipped.

He said: “The government can employ a service provider known to have the best prices and of high quality during a single-source like contracting a single caterer without competition or invite a number of caterers to compete based on quality of food and price and then select one to provide the hot meals distributed to the vulnerable.”

According to lawyer Kpebu, although the procurement law makes provision for how purchases should be done during an emergency like pandemic, the law did not make provisions to cover private pricing except government purchases.

“The procurement law only makes provisions for procurement between government and private institutions but does not cover transactions between private individuals. Hence, the procurement law did not make provision to protect individuals from price gouging during a pandemic,” he said.

He added that the price gouging ongoing in the markets and at pharmacies could only be curbed through price control laws like the ‘kalabule’ practiced in the 80s where those who were practicing overpricing were dragged to court among others and severely punished.

He shared his personal experience of price gouging resulting from COVID-19 when he was made to pay GH¢2.00 for three oranges instead of the usual GH¢1.00 for the same quantity of oranges two weeks ago.

He shared this when he appeared as a guest on the Corruption Watch show with Kwame Sarpong Asiedu, a United Kingdom-based Ghanaian Pharmacist and Mrs Mary Awelana Addah , Programmes Manager, Ghana Integrity Initiative

Source: Francisca Enchill

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