General News of Monday, 9 October 2017
Member of Parliament for Ledzekuko Constituency, Dr. Bernard Nii Boye has revealed how the National Democratic Congress (NDC) led government signed a contract worth about GHC4.6 billion meant to establish a mobile money interoperability system was extremely over bloated.
According to the Ledzekuko lawmaker, the deal which was priced at GHC4.6 billion has now been reviewed downward to GHC4 million, saving the country more than GHC4 billion – an amount which equals a tenth of the country’s GDP.
“Like I mentioned here, we had one transaction alone in this country which was going cost GHC4.6 billion. The interoperability platform that Bank of Ghana was going to procure from Sibton Switch. Just this year when the change in government occurred the same system has been procured for GHC4million.
“The actual price of the system was known when other bidders were asked to tender in their proposal, and surprisingly companies that had participated the in the first bidding process in under the NDC administration had reviewed downward their initial priceS.” Dr. Nii Boye said
Dr. Oko Nii Boye was speaking at the official opening of the Chartered Institute Procurement and Supplied (CIPS) office in Ghana when he asserted that, “if the NPP government had carried on with the implementation of the system, the country would have lost it two-year revenue.
The medical practitioner turned politician further slammed some public officials who nearly milked dry the state in the murky deal.
With the introduction of a professional procurement body – Chartered Institute Procurement and Supplied (CIPS), bottlenecks and corruption tied around procurement will be reduced to help government maximizes the buying power of their budgets and improve the quality of service delivery to their citizens, Dr. Nii Boye said.
The Central bank in February this year put on hold the billion-dollar deal it handed to Sibton Switch, a local IT firm, to interconnect all payment systems in the country, following public outcry over whether such an intermediary was necessary, given the cost implications for consumers.
Sources close to the Central bank told the B&FT that the then Governor, Dr. Abdul Nashiru Issahaku, had directed that the deal be halted while a re-evaluation of the entire project, known as the Ghana Retail Payments Infrastructure, is conducted.
The Central bank is said to have sent out an email to the major stakeholders involved in the project saying the brouhaha generated by the Sibton contract, after the B&FT’s exposé on the matter, warrants that the deal be put on hold while an extensive stakeholder consultation takes place.
Aside the huge amounts of money involved, as well as the cost implications for consumers, concerns have been raised as to whether the central bank’s wholly-owned subsidiary – the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) – could not undertake the project.
Known as the Ghana Retail Payments Infrastructure, the project is aimed at facilitating transactions across various payment platforms, including mobile money transactions from one network to the other, and transactions from, say, e-zwich to mobile money.