Norgbey Exposes Agric Ministry

GHc10m chemicals sole-sourced ‘without approval’

The create and loot of state resources syndrome under the Nana Akufo-Addo led New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has been once more brought to public scrutiny, as the Member of parliament (MP) for Ashaiman, Hon Ernest Henry Norgbey, exposed the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in parliament yesterday.

The Ashaiman MP had dragged the Food and Agriculture Ministry before parliament to answer a question as to how the chemicals used for fighting the fall armyworms was procured.

According to him, the legality of the ministry’s decision to purchase close to GHc10million worth of chemicals to combat armyworms on a sole-source basis, without the Public Procurement Authority’s approval, was more than necessary to be questioned.

“Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister for Food and Agriculture the procurement method used in procuring the insecticide for the armyworm eradication,” Hon. Norgbey said.

However, in responding to questions on the matter, a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Sagre Bambangi, said  the ministry only roped in the Public Procurement Authority after an amount of over GHc9 million arrangement for the insecticides had been made.

“The ministry, having secured the above facility, consequently requested for a retrospective approval from the Public Procurement Authority, for an emergency supply of insecticides to control the fall armyworms.”

“The Public Procurement Authority granted the request of the use of Single Source Procurement Method, to engage various suppliers to undertake the procurement of insecticide in accordance with section 40(1) (c) of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663),” Dr. Bambangi said.

Unknowingly to the Deputy Minister, the section in question, however, says nothing about retrospective approval as it notes that: “a procurement entity may engage in single source procurement under section 41 with the approval of the board, where owing to a catastrophic event, there is an urgent need for the goods, works or technical services, making it impractical to use any other methods of procurement because of the time involved in using those methods.”

When the Ashaiman MP further questioned the legality of the retrospective approval of the chemical, the Deputy Minister responded that “if it were wrong, the Public Procurement Authority would not have done same.”

He told parliament the ministry collaborated with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and Centre for Agriculture Biosciences International, for the recommended insecticides registered in Ghana, and also registered for the control of fall armyworms in Brazil, USA and other African countries.

According to him, after the recommendations, the minister invited companies which had registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and appealed to them to supply on credit.

In all, the Deputy Minister said, 12 companies were assembled by the government, but not in a competitive bidding process, to supply the insecticides to fight the armyworms, due to the urgent nature of the situation.

“Mr. Speaker, the ministry, having secured the above facility from the companies consequently requested for retrospective approval from the Public Procurement Authority for emergency supply of insecticides to control the fall armyworms.

“The PPA granted the request of the use of single sources procurement method to engage various suppliers to undertake the procurement of the insecticides in accordance with section 40(1)( c) of the Public Procurement Act,2003(Act 663),” he stated.

Since the invasion of the fall armyworms, the government has been under pressure from farmers and other concerned Ghanaians.

Before assumption of power on January 7, this year, The NPP, then in opposition, repeatedly criticized the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration for engaging in all forms of sole-sourcing contracts which did not ensure value for money, and in most cases breached Public Procurement regulations.

They have thus pledged to ensure that such reckless sole-sourcing contracts are not the order of the day, but the current events proved otherwise.



Source: Felix Engsalige Nyaaba

The Republic News Online

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