Capacity Development helps to strengthen institutions to perform better and manage the change. It is important to consider not only the Public Procurement Authority staff in the implementation of this project but also every other stakeholder involved in the entire procurement process particularly at the demand and supply side: public servants, private sector, and citizens including CSOs and the media. While implementing the strengthening disclosure and citizen participation to improve value for money in public contracting in Africa project, GACC ensured that the capacity of key stakeholders is well built especially in understanding key concepts like OCDS.
Ms. Beauty Emefa Narteh, the Executive Secretary, GACC, said a study by the World Bank suggests that about 70 percent of government’s budget goes into procurement, which means that majority of public funds were channeled through procurement.
Prior to this intervention, the staff of key public institutions and some journalists had no idea about the Open Contracting Data Standards (OCDS) and deep knowledge of the procurement process. The few public institutions that published procurement data did so in formats that were difficult to re-use for analysis. This intervention has created awareness and increased knowledge among stakeholders on the need to disclose comprehensive procurement data in a form that complies with international best practices (OCDS).
GACC in collaboration with AFIC, the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) and the PPA equipped over 150 stakeholders comprising selected Directors and procurement officers within the ministries, departments and agencies, CSOs, and journalists with the needed knowledge on open contracting, procurement and the OCDS framework through participatory approach workshops.
Beauty further noted, “This is why the GACC is collaborating with the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), to deepen participants understanding on how public procurement processes could be made more open to the public,”
Stakeholders trained demonstrated increased knowledge by analyzing data on the PPA website and as well incited a participant to further obtain training in the subject area. This means when Ghana’s new electronic data system (GHANEPS) is fully operational, staff within the institutions trained will fully understand and appreciate the demand for OCDS data for the GHANEPS.
Mr. Thomas Bondzi, Chief Manager, Information Technology Support Services, PPA, in his presentation on GHANEPS (Ghana Electronic Procurement System) in one of the trainings, said the web-based collaborative system, was developed in accordance with the requirement of public procurement laws, to facilitate public procurement processes in Ghana.
Civil society and journalists trained will also be able to follow up to demand OCDS data on the GHANEPS and other avenues where procurement data from public institutions are published. This will help to improve citizens’ participation in the procurement process and effective monitoring of public contracts to improve value for money.
According to Ms. Faustina Djabatey, the Acting Communications Officer, GACC, the main aim of the project was to increase the government’s commitment to the open contracting principles it signed unto under the Open Governance Partnership (OGP). This has already been started to be actualized through the government’s commitment to disclose procurement data in OCDS formats on the new e-procurement website- GHANEPS.