Ghana’s Comprehensive Approach to Public Procurement Reform

February 4, 2013

Public procurement is the process by which governments and other publicly-funded entities acquire goods, works, and services needed to implement public projects. It accounts for at least 15% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), and even more in African countries.  Reducing bottlenecks, combatting corruption, and building capacity in procurement help governments maximize the buying power of their budgets and improve the quality of service delivery to their citizens. Competitive and transparent public procurement systems are therefore a key element to achieving sustainable development and more prosperous societies in Africa. They are also essential to aid effectiveness and an important outcome addressed through World Bank technical assistance and advisory services.  In Ghana, the government has made great strides to reform its public procurement system holistically and tackle underlying issues affecting performance such as a patchwork legal framework, a weak civil service system, and a lack of access to information for civil society partners and the public.

Legal and Institutional Framework Reform

The Ghanaian government enacted the Public Procurement Act in 2003, laying the foundation for a standardized procurement system that takes into account the country’s decentralization and local industry development policies.  It created the Public Procurement Board as the central entity charged with harmonizing policy and ensuring efficient and transparent procurement, carried out by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA).  Procurement entities with tender committees carry out procurement for government bodies, and tender review boards provide concurrent approvals for recommendations for contract award made by the committees.

International and Regional Leadership

Ghana has been an active member of international procurement networks such as the Task Force on Procurement and the Marrakech Task Force on Sustainable Procurement.  The Ghanaian government  recently partnered with the government of Switzerland to develop sustainable public procurement policies and practices and also sits on the advisory committee to the World Bank on procurement reforms.

Professionalization & Capacity Development

Ghana has embarked on a new approach mainstreaming procurement training into the tertiary education system with new degrees at the Higher National Diploma (HND) and Bachelor’s levels.  These new curricula have been developed in collaboration with PPA and supported by the Millennium Development Authority (MiDa) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation and are now being delivered at Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and Takoradi Polytechnic.  GIMPA also offers short-term training sessions in procurement for internationally financed projects to government officials from across the region.  Finally, PPA has proposed a scheme of service for procurement officers in efforts to modernize and professionalize the career path.

Social Accountability and Civil Society Partners

Ghana’s vibrant civil society provides essential input and oversight to national procurement functions.  Key players include the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), which is leading a regional initiative on monitoring of procurement contracts in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.  Within Ghana, Revenue Watch Ghana is a key partner organizing activities to design and implement contract monitoring tools as part of the social accountability approach by civil society.

Data from the World Bank

As the World Bank’s contribution to transparency and promotion of business opportunities, relevant information for work in Ghana is linked below, including recent contracts awarded and procurement plans for all projects, Economic and Sector Work assessing implementation of Country Assistance Strategies, and a link to facilitate reporting of suspected fraud or corruption associated with project implementation.