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Ghana should repay $3.8 million to Global Fund in faulty condom deal


Lauren Gelfand
December 11,  2014

condoms1

 

 

Tender for more than 120 million condoms was riddled with fraud — and the goods were bad

Ghana’s Ministry of Health spent some $3.8 million of a Global Fund grant on faulty condoms procured in a tender that was riddled with fraud, the Office of the Inspector General has found. In addition to developing a plan to recover the funds, the Secretariat will be placing all purchasing for Ghana under the pooled procurement mechanism and requiring greater oversight by the local fund agent.

The investigation report published on 11 December confirmed that the procurement of 128 million male condoms purchased for the Ghana Health Service between 2010 and 2013 were “substandard, over-priced and bought through a non-competitive tender process involving forged documents”.

The tendering process was flawed from the outset, according to the report. Advertised only locally for a very short time period, the bid was whittled down to a single source with the immediate disqualification of two other bidders. An evaluation by the Ghana Central Tender Board was not reviewed, making the process decidedly untransparent.

Only a month after the bid was approved, the MoH agreed to a 35% per unit cost increase — an increase worth nearly $1 million over what had been a fixed-price contract that was ostensibly not subject to adjustments. According to the investigation, there is no evidence that the supplier, Global Unilink, provided the Ghana Health Service with documentation including market-pricing data to justify the price increase.

Moreover, the tender was predicated on the provision of falsified documents. Global Unilink provided misleading information related to where the condoms were manufactured, including a falsified manufacturer’s certificates that declared the condom manufacturer was WHO-certified.

This led to the other major problem: the condoms were of decidedly inferior quality. The investigation confirmed that the supplier did not source the product from a WHO-certified manufacturer, as it had been contracted to do. The purchased prophylactics did not meet WHO specifications or standards, even though the samples submitted during the tender for quality tests did come from a WHO-certified manufacturer. What this means is that quality condoms were provided for testing and low-quality ones supplied for use.

These quality issues came to light when end users reported that they burst too easily, did not contain enough lubricant and, according to one Ghanaian media report, were not big enough.

Why the Ghana Health Service failed to continue to carry out quality control tests on the Be Safe condoms remains to be seen; going forward, Aidspan understands from the Global Fund Secretariat: “the Secretariat will provide the Ghana Food and Drug Authority with advance notice of the dispatch of critical health products and commodities procured for Global Fund programs from whatever source. The LFA will verify the quality testing has been conducted before distribution.”

Other safeguards have been put in place, specifically related to the procurement of health products and commodities for Ghana. Since 2012, Ghana has been enrolled in the pooled procurement mechanism and global drug facility, meaning that ARVs, HIV test kits, drugs and diagnostic kits for malaria and TB drugs are all now procured by the Global Fund on Ghana’s behalf. The MoH is now only responsible for the procurement of products such as gloves and cotton swabs.

The Secretariat should pursue the recovery of the full $3.84 million spent on the faulty condoms — funds that Ghana itself has since 2013 been seeking from the supplier, Global Unilink, according to Ghanaian media reports.

A majority of the faulty condoms remain undistributed, stored in an MoH warehouse that, itself, has been subject to major scrutiny for the poor quality and conditions. In one Ghanaian media report, the facility was described as having a leaky roof and poor temperature controls — less than ideal conditions even at the best of times. The condoms are to be withdrawn and destroyed by the MoH and Ghana Health Service in line with “international procedural and environmental regulations” — whether this will happen is unclear.

Ghana has a generalized HIV prevalence rate of under 2% but within certain key populations, including commercial sex workers and men who have sex with men, the rate is considerably higher. Results from a demographic and health survey supported by the Global Fund should be published in 2015: the best way to determine whether there has been an increase in infection rates. It will not, however, be possible, to make any causatory inference that a spike in infections is due to the use of these problematic prophylactics.

World Bank debars Ghanaian firm over bribes


SupplyManagement

October 2, 2013 | Will Green

The World Bank has debarred a Ghanaian company for paying bribes in deals connected with a $17.6 million urban sanitation project in Liberia.

Waste management company Zoomlion Ghana will not be eligible for any contract financed by the World Bank for two years, after the firm acknowledged misconduct in the Emergency Monrovia Urban Sanitation Project.

According to the World Bank the company “paid bribes to facilitate contract execution and processing of invoices”.

The bank said the debarment was part of a “negotiated resolution agreement” that acknowledged the company’s “cooperation and disciplinary measures against staff involved in the misconduct”.

As part of the settlement the company will need to demonstrate “full and satisfactory compliance with the World Bank integrity standards”. The sanction came into force on 24 September.

Leonard McCarthy, integrity vice president at the World Bank, said: “This is a case where a company under a World Bank investigation is demonstrating responsibility for wrongdoing by enforcing disciplinary action and committing to a new standard of integrity governing its operations.

“Promoting this type of corporate responsibility while holding companies accountable for wrongdoing is one of the strategic pillars of the World Bank’s anti corruption strategy.”

The Liberian sanitation project, costing $17.6 million, is designed to assist the Monrovia City Corporation in providing waste services and increase the volume of collected waste from around 30 per cent daily to 45 per cent.

Buyers must take responsibility for change


SupplyManagement

11 July 2013 | Adam Leach

The halls of Ghana’s National Theatre reverberated with a symphony of supply chain chatter at the CIPS Pan-Africa Conference. Procurement professionals from across Africa filled the grand structure to gain insights from leading lights of the profession. Over the two days, topics from countering corruption, transforming the function into a strategic asset and the growing importance of transparency were discussed. But between each issue, there emerged a common thread: the importance of the buyer as an individual.

The procurement profession in Africa faces a great many challenges. Public money being diverted to unwanted destinations remains rife and there is an ever-growing need to increase the value accrued through its plentiful supply of natural resources. The collective power and determination that was evidently infused in the delegates present served to show that things are going in the right direction. But as almost every speaker highlighted, the continued development of the function lies on the shoulders of individuals.

Edward Siwela, director of the Institute of Directors Zimbabwe, set an inspirational tone in his presentation, highlighting the potential for procurement to deliver at the highest level of business value. “There is no doubt that there is a major contribution that procurement can make to the overall strategy of a business.”

But in order for this to be realised, he admitted, the profession will need to make sure that those in power take notice. “If procurement is to play a key role, the board must take a keen interest in it.” Turning to the skillset demanded of modern procurement professionals, Siwela picked out risk management and IT competency as being of increasing importance. He also identified an ability to “handle difficult situations” as key in aiding the fight against corruption, which, if successful, could create significant value. “When [corruption and brown envelopes] disappear it can only mean one thing… value creation,” he said.

General manager SAP at Nigerian National Petroleum, Bola Afolabi also turned his attention to the issue of corruption, conceding to the audience of buyers that they would inevitably come up against people trying to gain an improper edge or benefit. He told them to be aware that if they succeed in getting into a powerful position, some, even close family and friends, might be thinking “what’s in this for me?”. Offering simple advice, he said: “You need to have that thick skin and be the best that you can be.”

With regard to corruption and other issues of risk, such as the detrimental effect on the local supply chain caused by going for a low cost but foreign supplier, the former CIPS president advocated that buyers be relentless in their search for potential issues: “Question yourself. Ask: ‘What is the risk in the role that I play? Look for the risk element in every level of the supply chain.” Outlining risks that commonly arise, particularly Africa, he pointed to incessant changes within government, a lack of keeping to payment terms and a failure to address potential conflicts of interest.

In one of the standout presentations of the conference, delegates were treated to the insights of a purchaser who has scaled all the way to the top of the corporate ladder. Babs Omotowa, who is now managing director of Nigeria LNG, told those looking to follow in his footsteps that success would only follow hard work. Boosting the strategic value of the function, he proposed, would only come if the profession took proactive action. “Procurement is yet to take its place as a strategic function. Buyers need to ask themselves whether they are spending more time on transactional or strategic activity.” If the measurement indicates a balance in favour of transactional work, it is encumbent on buyers to shift it towards the strategic side, he said.

In a further call for buyers to bring themselves closer to the centre of overall operations, Omotowa highlighted the need for them to develop a broader understanding of the ecosystem in which they sit. He urged them to “go beyond” the confines of procurement and factor in big issues such as societal and global matters into their own objectives. This, he proposed, would help overcome negative perceptions of the function from other parts of the business: “If you’re only concerned with procurement, no wonder other parts of the business don’t listen to you,” he said. In particular, he suggested that buyers swot up on politics, science and the global economy to enrich their perspective.

Tett Affotey-Walters, director of the Ghana procurement civil service, also cautioned against buyers becoming too focused on their individual goals and objectives rather than the overarching aims of their organisation. “It is not good enough for us as procurement professionals to only be reading procurement books,” he said. Ghana’s public sector chief also suggested that buyers earning the taxpayer pound, had suffered as a result of not having clearly defined career trajectories, when compared with other support functions such as finance or human resources. “In the Ghana Civil Service, there is no classification for procurement per se,” he said.

Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula, deputy governor of administration at the Bank of Zambia, used her time in the spotlight to impress upon buyers the pivotal role they can play in shaping the region’s economic development. She conceded that, currently, the reputation of the profession is not where many would like it to be. She said that procurement suffered as a result of being tagged as focusing too heavily on lowest cost. To remedy this, she urged audience members to work to a broader definition of value, factoring in the economic benefits afforded through local sourcing and boosting SME into purchasing decisions.

Taken together, the various traits, skills and competencies required in the modern African buyer, constitute a significant challenge. They must shake away the often unfairly attributed perception that they are concerned only with cost, by substantiating the value they have delivered in areas far harder to measure. Calculating contributions to local economies as robustly as a contracting saving is not easy work. They must also combine their more strategic understanding of how their own work impacts their organisation’s goals, with a clearer appreciation of what other teams are doing in order to improve stakeholder relations, a trick few in the profession have mastered.

Throw in the thick skin required to counter corruption and the booksmarts required to build currency with the board and it all adds up to a tall order. But if the energy and ambition that was apparent across the two days in Accra can be replicated in offices across the continent, there’s a strong chance it will be achieved.

– See more at: http://www.supplymanagement.com/analysis/features/2013/individual-action/#sthash.SmvxwpTT.dpuf

Africa needs qualified procurement professionals


Ghana Business News

May 23rd, 2013

Mr Samuel Sellas-Mensah, Chief Executive of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), has said developing countries need well qualified procurement professionals to manage the challenges in the current global economic environment.

He said: “The current global economic environment, which is evident in high levels of unemployment, increased perceptions of corruption, inadequate hard and soft infrastructure and devastating effects of climate change, makes it imperative for the continent to have well qualified procurement professionals”.

Mr Sellas-Mensah said this when he opened a three-day Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) Pan-African Conference in Accra on Tuesday.

The event is under the theme: “The Strategic Role of Procurement Professionals in the Development of Africa.”

He said when public procurement was effectively managed by well qualified professionals, there was bound to be rippling effects that could lead to improvement in the economies of developing countries.

Mr Sellas-Mensah said though most factories in Africa might be as productive as those in China and India, the prices of their goods were normally not competitive due to the poor management of their value chains and the lack of requisite infrastructure.

He said there was the need for investment in the training of well qualified procurement professionals who would be able to eliminate all forms of waste and inject efficiency into their sourcing and acquisition process.

Mr Sellas-Mensah said qualified procurement professionals would provide the continent with efficient, professional, accountable and transparent functions, by using their expertise to negotiate and tap into the global supply chain to fit into the principles of procurement.

He said procurement professionals were able to conduct effective ‘supplier and spend’ analysis that would inform managerial decision and align procurement strategies to organizational goals.

Mr Sellas-Mensah said there was a strong correlation between corruption and bad procurement practices and its debilitating effect on African economies, saying countries practicing effective procurement systems were on the path of curbing corruption.

He said investing in the growth and development of procurement professionals on the continent would be a sure way for Africa to realize its dreams and aspirations.

The Chief Executive of the PPA said his outfit had over the years made some achievements due to the development of new procurement monitoring and evaluation tools, publication of manual to operations of public procurement practitioners and training modules of procurement practitioners and the high ratings by the World Bank.

“Our experiences and achievements for almost a decade can attest to the strategic importance of procurement professionals in national development.

“Since public procurement constitutes 20 per cent of GDP of most developing economies and absorbs 50 per cent of their revenue exclusive of government wage bills, it is believed that the procurement function is critical in delivering both functional and horizontal objectives of any development agenda,” he said.

CORRUPTION WATCH:Procurement law must be simplified


Mar 31, 2013 | Corruption Watch

Is our government just really bad at procurement, or is there a deeper problem with the law that applies to tendering?

IT SEEMS that every other week there is a different scandal involving procurement. Most tenders seem to land up in court, with service providers squabbling over the spoils of government spending. Is our government just really bad at procurement, or is there a deeper problem with the law that applies to tendering? Perplexed

Dear Perplexed

We believe that it is a bit of both. While there is no denying that some of the bureaucrats responsible for procurement are corrupt (as are some of the private companies that bid for contracts), the law governing public procurement has become increasingly complicated.

In our view, procurement law has now become so complicated that it may be undermining service delivery. For example, many organs of state are unable to spend their budgets and infrastructure grants. The complexity of procurement law contributes to this problem by paralysing civil servants who become hyper-cautious in their desire to avoid infringing the law.

Part of the problem is that there are so many different levels of procurement law.

A well-intentioned and honest administrator will find that the following layers of law govern procurement:

Section 217 of the constitution expressly deals with government procurement. It provides that when an organ of state contracts for goods or services, it must do so “in accordance with a system which is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective”.

The award of a tender constitutes administrative action in terms of the constitution. As such, the award of tenders is subject to review under the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act.

Various pieces of legislation govern the budgeting process, internal controls and the requirement that people historically disadvantaged by unfair discrimination be favoured.

Each organ of state has its own supply chain management policy, which must be followed by its bureaucrats when engaging in procurement.

Any information held by an organ of state relating to the tender process is potentially affected by the Promotion of Access to Information Act, and may be the subject of requests for information by other affected parties.

The contract between the relevant organ of state and the service provider is governed by the common law of contract.

As a result, innumerable pitfalls await even the most well-intentioned administrator.

The competitive nature of tender processes and the enormous financial benefits to be gained from contracts for government procurement are a powerful incentive for unsuccessful parties to litigate, which they often do.

Their lawyers scrutinise every step in the process for compliance with the various laws and procedures, and pounce on every real or perceived irregularity. Very few administrative processes are entirely free from any misstep, and when one is found, litigation soon follows.

In addition, bureaucrats are required to account to government oversight bodies in respect of expenditure, including internal accounting officers and the Treasury. The procurement process may also be subjected to scrutiny by the auditor-general and the public protector.

Even where litigation by disgruntled parties fails, or investigations by other organs of state result in a clean bill of health, the effect of such litigation and investigation is to delay the provision of the service in question.

Procurement processes are often suspended while disputes are resolved, which can mean delays of years in service delivery.

We are therefore of the view that legal reforms to simplify and speed up procurement are justified. Any reform would have to ensure that accountability mechanisms remain in place, and that the law retains proper safeguards for detecting corruption and maladministration.

That would require careful balancing between swift, effective service provision and a functioning oversight mechanism.

* This article was first published in Sunday Times: Business Times

 

Pan-African procurement and supply conference to be held in Accra


Ghana News – SpyGhana.com

By Ekow Quandzie

Ghana will host the first-ever Pan African Conference and Exhibition on procurement and supply from May 21-23, 2013 in the capital, Accra.

The event will be organised by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS), the world’ largest independent professional body representing the procurement and supply profession.

Themed “The strategic role of professional procurement in the development of Africa”, the event is expected to bring together corporate executives, financial controllers and directors, public sector decision makers as well as supply chain, logistics and procurement practitioners from all sectors of African economies

The region wide multi-sectorial conference is expected to give the continent’s public and private sector executives and decision makers an opportunity to gain insights into professional procurement and its strategic link to long term economic development.

Ghana: Government Urged To Implement Sustainable Public Procurement Policy


Mr. Samuel Sallas-Mensah - CEO of Public Procurement Authority

Mr. Samuel Sallas-Mensah – CEO of Public Procurement Authority

Mr Samuel Sallas-Mensah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) has appealed to government and procurement practitioners to embrace and implement Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) policy.

He said SPP factored economic, social and environmental impacts in procurement decision making which would ensure effective sustainable development.

The CEO was speaking at an opening session of a five-day pilot training for procurement practitioners on SPP in Koforidua on Monday,

“Waste management and economic use of resources are some obvious challenges we face and sustainable public procurement can help address them to a large extent,” he said.

Mr Sallas-Mensah said the SPP makes room for increased participation of women entrepreneurs in government procurement processes which would be a boost for national economic growth and for their immediate families as well as their communities.

“A policy that seeks to improve incomes for women businesses through government contracts is a wise one and must be embraced since it results in poverty alleviation and wealth creation,” he said.

Mr Sallas-Mensah appealed to the government to set aside a percentage of all its contracts for Small Scale and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to enable Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) to have a quota.

In her welcoming address, Nadia Balgoben, the Swiss Representative, implored Ghana’s policy makers and procurement practitioners to take the training serious and make it a point to implement the SPP policy for the country to attain full sustainable development.

Mr John Afari Idan, CEO of Biogas Technologies Africa Limited, reminded the participants of the need to understand that their role in public procurement is not all about buying but adding value to what they buy.

The pilot training is a collaborative effort between the Government of the Swiss, to train procurement practitioners and policy makers in the public sector in order to strengthen their monitoring and evaluation capabilities which would in turn foster sustainable development.

Source: GNA

Related posts:

  1. Ghana to start piloting implement e-procurement system
  2. Ghana prepares draft amendments of Public Procurement Act
  3. Ghana As From 2014 Will Operate An Electronic Procurement System
  4. PPA reveals non-compliance of public procurement law
  5. Public Procurement Act Is A Tool To Fight Corruption
  6. Government to implement strategies for public sector reform
  7. Sallas-Mensah joins Advisory Group
  8. Local firms urged to develop CSR for sustainable national development
  9. ISD And IPR Trains Government’s Public Relations Officers In Various Ministries
  10. Public-private partnership policy approved
  11. Gov’t urged to continue implementation of National Youth Policy
  12. Ghana to undertake over $1.5b ambitious projects under public-private partnership policy
  13. Ghana government approves new forest, wildlife policy
  14. Government to implement inclusive education in 2015-Minister
  15. Government to use Public Private Partnership for low-cost efficient service delivery.
  16. Ghana begins electronic procurement system 2014 (ghanabusinessnews.com)

Ghana Struggles to Cash in ‘Black Gold’ Dreams of Oil Riches


Die Welt

July 12th, 2012

By Christian Putsch with K. Owusu Peprah
DIE WELT/Worldcrunch

SEKONDI-TAKORADI – The route to the training center is a crumbling asphalt road losing its battle with encroaching vegetation. The guards sitting in a wooden hut to our right barely look up as we drive past. Ebow Haizel-Ferguson is the director of the training center where we are heading; officially called “Sigma Base Technical Services,” it is Ghana’s largest “oil school.”

Steering the car to the left and through the thicket, a view suddenly opens up on to a railway graveyard. Haizel-Ferguson says proudly: “You’d be surprised what we’ve achieved out of nothing.”

Rust is eating its way through scrapped cars surrounding a large hangar. Through the dusty windows of the building, alignments of long work-tables can be seen. This is where in recent months Haizel-Ferguson and his team have taught 2,000 young people welding, pipefitting and other skills — but not for the rail sector: they’re only renting the premises in the Ghanaian coastal city Sekondi-Takoradi from the train company.

Since the 2007 discovery of the Jubilee offshore oilfield — one of the largest oil deposits ever found in Africa — only one thing has mattered in Ghana: black gold. For the country’s people it means the hope of better economic times. Investments in oil-drilling infrastructure have boosted growth by over 13%. And the rapidly expanding city of Sekondi-Takoradi is at the center of it all.

So is Haizel-Ferguson, who worked at Nigeria’s oil metropolis Port Harcourt for 22 years. The tall Ghanaian entrepreneur says he knows everything there is to know about oil: “I’ve breathed it, drunk it, and puked it.”

But Nigeria’s path is unfortunately one that Ghana is in danger of following. After decades of pollution by oil companies, oil thieves, and rebels, the Niger Delta is one of those places on the planet that look as if it’s straight from of an apocalyptic science fiction set. And while western oil companies lure employees to Nigeria with the highest bonuses in the world — a senior manager can earn 320,000 euros a year — Nigerian government figures say local firms account for only 18% of the value-creation process.

Very few Nigerians benefit from the commodity, and the oil boom has cost countless fishermen and farmers their livelihood. It is only in the last few years that laws relevant to granting supplier contracts have been tightened with the intent that two-thirds of them will go to Nigerian companies.

Cautionary tale

What happened in a country only some 100 km away is a cautionary tale — and Haizel-Ferguson wants to make sure the story doesn’t repeat itself in Ghana.

Expectations here are high indeed. Although so far the oilfields have produced less than expected, the Ghana Oil and Gas Service Providers Association (GOGSPA) says that the industry could create 100,000 jobs for Ghanaians. Two years ago, the Ministry of Energy promised a more cautious 10,000new jobs — and in early June 2012 announced that only 813 jobs have opened up so far. Meanwhile, as oil infrastructure is being built up, Ghanaian companies complain about how few of the contracts they obtain.

Others are benefitting instead. China, for example, which gave Ghana a 2.4 billion euro loan to construct oil infrastructure, is being paid back with 13,000 barrels per day. That’s a cheap price for the Asians who have also stipulated that a significant number of contracts be awarded to Chinese companies.

What clearly has little bearing is that five years ago the Ghanaian government drafted laws stipulating that companies like Tullow Oil (USA) and Kosmos Energy (Great Britain) had to award 90% of contracts to local firms. In any case, these laws have yet to come into force.

But all of this has not dimmed the hopes of many Ghanaians for well-paid jobs. And it’s why Haizel-Ferguson is schooling young men and women in oil industry skills at the old railway training center. “They are now qualified to apply for jobs. Bear in mind that the construction of oil industry infrastructure will be going on for another 20 years at least,” he says. “But so far they’ve not been giving the work to Ghanaians.”

If it is the largest, Haizel-Ferguson’s “Oil and Gas Skills Training Workshop” is by no means the only oil industry training center in Ghana. On the streets of Sekondi-Takoradi you see hundreds of posters advertising such institutes. All of them promise that a certificate from their school guarantees a job in the industry.

The offer is seductive to many. It didn’t take long to persuade Emmanuel Opoku-Agyeman, for example, who quit his job in the marketing department of a newspaper to pursue training. “It isn’t just Ghana that’s got oil, they’re discovering new fields all over Africa,” says the 31-year-old. “With a certificate, you can apply for jobs anywhere.”

Opoku-Agyeman earned 500 Ghana Cedi — about 200 euros — a month at his old job. In Takoradi, the “oil schools” hand out documents stating that the minimum monthly salary for a job on an oil rig is the equivalent of 2,800 euros – 14 times what Opoku-Agyeman was making. With prospects like that, it didn’t seem to him that what the Harvard Marine Petroleum Training Institute (HMPTI) was asking for a three-month course — $3000 (2,394 euros) — was excessive.

On the job market

The HMPTI’s Australian investors have made over an old office building where experienced oil industry engineers give the courses. Proudly, Opoku-Agyeman takes me on a tour of the premises and tells me about the packed days of learning, the great equipment the facility offers, the competent teachers. As one of the first 200 graduates, he’s now on the job market. He says he’s only going to start getting nervous if he hasn’t found something within the next few months — and he shouldn’t even be thinking that way, he says, there are no grounds for it, he has received excellent training “as you would expect from a Harvard school.”

No, there is no connection to Harvard University in the United States, school director Ron McGrath concedes. “The important thing is that we are qualifying young Ghanaians to work in the oil sector,” he says. The focus is not on the jobs requiring very high-level qualifications, but on occupations on the supplier side: “Future international regulations will require workers in the sector to have attended courses such as ours.”

McGrath doesn’t believe Ghanaian black gold expectations are too high, nor is the price charged by his institution. “Training in this field just is expensive, you need a lot of equipment and the teachers have to have top qualifications.”

Along with the government, schools like the HMPTI urge people to be patient. Coming up for reelection in December, President John Atta Mills has promised that oil revenues will be used to build up the infrastructure of the entire nation. And all you need to do is travel through Ghana for a few days to see the huge expectations such promises unleash in a country that is still one of the world’s poorest.

Five hours away from Sekondi-Takoradi is the village of Awukuguanyensi. Most of its population of 130 work as farmers. As you enter the village you pass a wooden sign that reads: “No electricity, no votes.” It’s a pretty empty threat, born of desperation — one way or the other, the village is likely to have to wait a long time for power lines to be put in.

On the day of my visit, the children of Awukuguanyensi are being vaccinated against Pneumococci and rotavirus for free. In Ghana, these two fatal diseases account for 20% of child mortality. Thanks to the GAVI Alliance’s mission to provide free vaccines to children in developing countries, 87% of the children in this area have been vaccinated — although overall the situation in the country is far away indeed from one of the major UN Millennium Development Goals, which is to reduce, by 2015, child mortality by two-thirds from what it was in 1990.

In this village, many families have lost a child to illness brought on by the miserable living conditions. And those who do make it past childhood face bleak perspectives. Isaac Kwasi, 25, says all he ever wanted was to be a farmer, but you can’t make a living from it. So many of his friends have moved to Sekondi-Takoradi. He sometimes gets text messages from them saying they still don’t have full-time jobs. But that’s not holding him back. Next year, he says, he’s moving too — to Takoradi, and its promise of black gold.

Read the original article in German.

Ghana: Terms of Super Oil Contracts Must Favour African Governments – Kan Dapaah


AllAfrica.com

BY LAUD NARTEY

July 20th, 2012

It has been suggested that the trend in which super attractive oil contracts tend to favour foreign interest must change in favour of revenue capture to finance much needed development in African countries.

The proposal is not oblivious of the worrying dangers associated with increased revenue capture such as encouraging attitudes on the part of private sector to reduce taxable income through transfer pricing, thin capitalization and justification for declaring losses. Besides, there is also the potential for abuse of revenues, corruption and rent seeking in the management of resources among public officials.

Hon Albert Kan Dapaah, Chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, made these suggestions when he addressed the official opening of the Summer School of the Africa Regional Extractive Industries Knowledge Hub at the Ghana Institute of Management Public Administration (GIMPA) last Monday in Accra. The school brought together experts in the extractive industry from around the African continent.

According to him, the implementation of such an idea has become more compelling against the backdrop of reduction in exploration risks profile in the oil and gas industry as well as the decline of political risk factors in most African countries.

In the face of these potentials, he urged that government must continue to negotiate terms of contracts with openness and in the spirit of partnership to ensure that interest of all parties were fairly balanced.

Hon Dapaah, who is also Member of Parliament for Afigya Sekyere West, accordingly called for the strengthening of Parliament and other institutions of State to ensure due diligence in contract ratification, budgeting and generally strong oversight in the management of extractive industries.

Similarly, revenue collection agencies must be supported with the capacity and will power to audit the cost of oil and mineral companies and collect appropriate revenues due the State.

He lamented poor development outcomes in many resource rich countries have led to citizens demanding that governments collect large shares of resource rent to finance development. He cited Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia as examples of countries which have embarked on reforms in their respective sectors to increase revenue.

In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister for Energy, Dr Joe Oteng Adjei, noted that Ghana had signed on to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiatives (EITI) for the purpose of strengthening transparency and accountability in relation to revenue and payments from operators within the sector.

The initiative, which hitherto, was limited to the mining sector, has now been extended to the oil and gas sector.

He said government has given expression to its desire to ensure transparency in the sector by preparing a draft EITI Bill ready for submission to Parliament.

The purpose of the Bill, he said, was to provide the legal framework, and ultimately to enhance transparency and accountability in relation to payments originating from the natural resource sector of the economy and receipts by government.

A participant from Zambia, Lucy Bwalya Munthali, in an interview with the Public Agenda said, she expected that this year’s Summer school would equip her with new skills which would help her contribute to reformation of the extractive industry in her country.

She noted that African leaders were not doing enough as far as the industry was concern and this stemmed from the implementation of inappropriate policies.

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