Procurement breaches are estimated to make up almost 90% of corruption cases, and therefore adoption of e-procurement (reputed to reduce corruption by preventing human interface) could save countries up to 2% of GDP. To this end, the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) has been increasing awareness on effective implementation of the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) through radio and face-to-face engagement. The OCDS is the international yardstick for data standards. OCDS compliant procurement data is comprehensive and offers a format that lends itself to further analysis. These features allow civil society to interrogate procurement issues more easily and thereby, play their social accountability role more effectively.
The GACC has featured in radio discussions to share the findings of a mapping report that assessed procurement data mainly from Ghana’s Public Procurement Authority (PPA). The mapping report identified missing relevant procurement information, such as: consistent identifier number given to each contracting process and used consistently across all the stages of the contracting process; consistent identifier for each contracting process; official company registration numbers for bidders and award criteria to understand how the successful supplier will be selected. The GACC held a meeting with the PPA to include all missing items stated above in their published procurement data to improve public contract disclosure.
The GACC has also engaged stakeholders from public and private institutions, media and CSOs on the OCDS and related issues pertaining to information disclosure on procurement. The engagement revealed the need for increased capacity building across sectors on the OCDS. Stakeholders identified with the potential benefits that come with the OCDS in public contracting. Public institutions pointed out that OCDS compliance would minimize the enormous data requests on procurement they receive daily as the OCDS data is comprehensive enough to provide all the information requested. Private institutions were quick to recognize that OCDS will bring about a level and transparent playing field for bidding. CSOs and the media also expressed joy at the potential of being armed with the gamut of information required to hold public institutions accountable in their procurement.