Roads can cost 10% less with competitive bidding – Deputy Roads Minister-designate

Deputy Roads Minister-designate, Kwabena Owusu Aduomi, has advocated for an open competitive bidding in the award of road contracts.

He explained government could save about 10 percent on the cost road construction if the process for issuing a road contract is open and competitive without discrimination.

Taking his turn before Parliament’s Appointments Committee Wednesday, the engineer said an “open competitive bidding” is the solution to value for money.

Experts have established that about 80 percent of road contracts given in the country are through sole-sourcing, resulting in inflated cost of road construction.

The excess amount is estimated to be about $2 billion, an amount experts say could fund many road projects.

The previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) government used single sourcing in awarding major contracts in clear breach of the Public Procurement Act, 2003.

The Act in Section 40(1) lays down the procedures to use in the award of contracts.

“A procurement entity may engage in single-sourcing procurement under section 41 with the approval of the Board,

(a)where goods, works or services are only available from a particular supplier or contractor, or if a particular supplier or contractor has exclusive rights in respect of the goods, works or services, and no reasonable alternative or substitute exists;

(b)where there is an urgent need for the goods, works or services and engaging in tender proceedings or any other method of procurement is impractical due to unforeseeable circumstances giving rise to the urgency which is not the result of dilatory conduct on the part of the procurement entity;

(c)where owing to a catastrophic event, there is an urgent need for the goods, works or technical services, making it impractical to use other methods of procurement because of the time involved in using those methods.

The failure to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Act has led to the collapse of many local industries, then Minority leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu said in 2016.

Responding to a question by North Tongu Member of Parliament (MP), Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the deputy Minister-designate said sole-sourcing leads to high cost.

“The situation where you give a privilege to a contractor who puts in a rate he or she feels, will not cut down cost,” he said.

He said an open tendering process enables the government to employ the service of a company that is cost-sensitive.