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Contracts Monitoring Training: A Bridge to an Empowered Citizenry [Our Impact ]

An informed citizen contributes to the shaping of a country’s development. Section 1 (1) of Ghana’s Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2019 (Act 989) gives every citizen the right to ask for any information that is held by public institutions, including private institutions performing a public function in Ghana, whereas section 1 (2) requires that all public institutions must make it easy for the public to obtain information.

The RTI law is one of the anti-corruption tools that will increase the transparency of the day-to-day public administrations. The Local Governance Act also gives citizens the right to participate in the affairs of local government to ensure accountability, transparency, and ability to build community support for a project.

INTERVENTION

Since our engagement through this intervention, it is noted that a section of the Ghanaian citizens is not aware or even enlightened on what constitutes the procurement process that affect performance of public contracting in Ghana. As a result, they are not empowered to advocate or discuss issues to promote openness in government contracting. Meanwhile, a lot of the corruption cases in Ghana are procurement related and these end up affecting service delivery which deprives some communities of having access to basic social amenities such as hospitals, schools, clean water, roads etc. which widens the inequality gap in Ghana.

The Hewlett funded intervention through the AFIC supported the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) to select and train forty-one (41) GACC citizen groups in two districts in Ghana known as the Local Accountability Network (LANet) on public procurement data analysis and tracking execution of contracts. The training enlightened them on the set of data to look out for in public procurement. The training also empowered them with skills and tools on how to request for contract data on projects implemented within their communities. The training shared extensive knowledge on all the stages of contracting chain, issues, or problems in public contracting, for example the citizen groups were given tactics on how to identify red flags while analyzing procurement data.

RESULTS

Prior to this intervention, the citizen groups had very low or no knowledge on what the procurement cycle entailed or analyzing procurement data. Due to the lack of knowledge, the citizen groups did not feel empowered to request or collect salient data from their district Assemblies for analyses as per thematic indicators and reporting, data collection from the assembly was also stressful and cumbersome.

As a result of the Hewlett/AFIC funded intervention, and the training provided by GACC, the citizen groups have expressed having an increase in knowledge on information disclosure in the procurement cycle and can, identify possible red flags while analyzing procurement data. In addition, the citizen groups are more empowered by the knowledge gained as well as enlightened on the fact that there is a Right to Information law that backs their demand. This makes their participation, particularly request for information from the Assembly less stressful, unlike before.

The GACC citizen groups forms up what the Hewlett/AFIC intervention describes as community monitors. In Asante-Akim Central Municipal Assembly and the Techiman Municipal Assembly, community monitors’ 39 information requests have clearly demonstrated their increase in demand for disclosure. Following the 39 information request the community monitors have gained access to 20 contract documents.

The community monitors have been able to analyze data on the 20 contract documents accessed from the two (2) project district Assemblies and produced 2 contract monitoring reports. The Assemblies have assured the community monitors on providing information of the remaining 19 project contracts. Following the recommendations from the monitoring exercise, the Asante-Akim Central Assembly took steps to publish tender information on two projects on the Public Procurement Authority’s website.

The two projects are as follows;

  1. Construction of one 3-unit classroom block with office, store, staff common room, 6-seater squat W/C toilet with mechanized borehole
  2. Construction of one ambulance service unit

Through this intervention, Mr. Frederick Asiamah, a journalist who is a content producer for Corruption Watch program aired every other week on Joy FM who is a beneficiary of this intervention has since the training taken a keen interest in raising public awareness on procurement related issues/breaches on one of the flagship radio programmes on Joy FM in the morning.

Author:

Faustina Djabatey, Communications Officer
Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition

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