Ghana's minister for procurement, Sarah Adwoa Safo
Ghana's minister for procurement, Sarah Adwoa Safo

CIPS opens first Ghana office

Professional body status gives CIPS qualifications national recognition

When Sarah Adwoa Safo became the first minister for procurement in Ghana’s government in April 2017, she set out a 12-point plan that focused on ensuring the country’s public procurement function adheres to the most rigorous standards.

And in October 2017 CIPS was awarded professional body status in the country, building on its long association with Ghana and giving national recognition to the CIPS qualifications.

The move to professionalise public procurement across Ghana began 20 years ago, when perceptions of corruption were seen to put the development of the country at risk. Work began to reform the procurement laws, rules and regulations, and to create modern policy that required strict adherence to the laws.

In 2003 the first public procurement act was introduced, then updated in 2016, and Ghana’s president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo created an office for public procurement, appointing Adwoa Safo, a lawyer and member of parliament who had been on the public accounts committee.

More recently, the president appointed Professor Douglas Boateng as independent chairman of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), a move seen as an indication of the commitment to professional procurement practices in the public sector as the country strengthens its industrialisation. Boateng will help transform and reposition the PPA to support the economic development agenda.

Country manager Stella Aku Addo heads up the new CIPS office in Accra. She also runs the CIPS Ghana branch, was the first woman in Ghana to become a Fellow of CIPS, and has experience at the Crown Agents and as head of procurement at the Fidelity Bank in Ghana.

She says that while procurement “used to be seen as a clerical duty that could be handled by anyone,” since the public procurement act in 2003, it has gained recognition within organisations. Having a minister for procurement helps: “It will give professionals a major recognition in the performance of their duties.”

Aku Addo’s aims include driving forward the importance of having professionally trained procurement and supply teams, raising awareness of procurement as a career, forging relationships with key stakeholders including the Ministry of Procurement, PPA, British Council and education providers, promoting the profession and increasing CIPS membership in the country. “I am very excited and proud to join a well-known global brand and raise the profile of the profession in Ghana,” she says.

Proposed procurement reforms

Adwoa Safo’s plan for Ghana’s ministry of public procurement

1.  Ensure 70% of government contracts go to local contractors and suppliers

2.  Allocate 30% of these to companies owned by women, youth and the disabled

3.  Formulate government policies and strategies on public procurement

4.  Advise government on procurement issues

5.  Prioritise and realign all government procurement in line with budgetary allocation

6.  Harmonise public procurement policy and practice to ensure fairness, equality, accountability, competitiveness, transparency, value for money and integrity

7.  Establish an online portal to rate contractor and supplier performance

8.  Establish pricing standards and benchmarks for contractors and suppliers

9.  Ensure government procurement and the disposal of public assets applies fair, competitive, value for money standards

10. Achieve transparency, competitiveness and professionalism in public sector procurement

11. Propose regulations for effective function of Ghana’s procurement

12. Review and monitor public procurement contracts and advise accordingly

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