The Minister of State in charge of Public Procurement, Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo, has commended the Ministry of Education for adhering strictly to the procurement laws in the implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy.

She said given that the Free SHS was a key Government flagship programme that had attracted diverse opinions, and with the programme set to run in a few weeks time, it was imperative that the policy was staved off further controversies, especially, the procurement processes.

Ms Safo made the commendation when she paid a working visit to the Education Ministry to apprise herself on the procurement methods being employed by the Ministry and to advice it, accordingly.

After being briefed by Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Education Minister, on how his outfit was carrying out the procurement processes for the Policy, she applauded the Education Minister and his team for going strictly by the dictates of the laws.

She said the components that constituted Free SHS required a lot of procurement activities, therefore, it was important that the regulations governing the procurement process were not flouted.

She, however, urged the Education Minister and his team to be mindful of a new directive from cabinet to seek its approval for any procurement that exceeded GHC50 million.

Ms Safo also informed Dr Prempeh and his team about some of the policies of the Government that she was implementing to strengthen the national procurement system to ensure value for money.

For instance, she said, in order to strengthen the capacities of local contractors, Government had made it a policy that 70 per cent of all its contracts or projects would be awarded to local contractors.

Out of that 70 per cent, 30 per cent of the contracts or projects would have to 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 implement. Very soon, my office will come out with how it is going to be done,” she stated.

She also informed the Education Minister and his team about the steps her Ministry was taking to harmonise the two existing Public Procurement Act (Act 663) and Public Procurement (Amended) Act (Act 914) for easy reading and referencing.

She also announced plans by her office to establish an e-platform where the database of the records of all contractors involved in government projects would be monitored and evaluation purposes.

“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.

For his part, Dr. Prempeh, expressed appreciation for the Procurement Minister’s visit, and gave the assurance that the Free SHS Policy would be implemented in line with the laws of the land.

He said the policy would be rolled out in three weeks, expressing optimism that its successful implementation would inure to the benefits of all.

He also assured that the Ministry would also ensure that subsidies for continuing students, capitation grant and teacher-trainee allowances were promptly paid.

Source: GNA/