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Finance Ministry Acquires Software To Check Unrealistic Budget Estimates

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

A software designed to equip district and regional procurement officers and engineers to prepare realistic budget estimates for infrastructural projects has been introduced by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Procurement Authority (PPA).

The software is also intended to foster transparency and address variations in the costs of public projects such as roads, buildings, power, water and sewage systems.

The technology has become necessary because of the recurring problem of unrealistic budget estimates due to the lack of reference prices and actual prices of projects that exceeded estimates.

A sensitisation workshop to train procurement officers and engineers from the Greater Accra, Volta, Eastern and Western regions on how to use the system effectively was organised in Accra on Tuesday.

Launching the guidelines on the effective use of the software, the Chief Executive of the PPA, Mr Adjenim Boateng Adjei, said it was heart-warming that the practice of public procurement in Ghana was rapidly embracing technological tools to aid efforts at attaining the goals of an efficient, effective and transparent procurement system.

He said notwithstanding the achievements in the adoption of various softwares to improve the public financial management system locally, Ghana continued to be saddled with the challenges of properly estimating the cost of various infrastructural projects.

Mr Adjei said the cost of any such project varied based on technical requirements, local circumstance such as time of the year the project was implemented, location, inflation, currency and foreign exchange costs.

Those factors, he said, tended to have a significant impact on the project costs and caused variations in the cost of delivery of infrastructural projects.
Ensure realistic pricing

“A database tool on the cost of the components of standard infrastructural projects, therefore, is essential to support a benchmarking system which will ensure that the estimated total cost of the projects will deliver value for money,” he said.

Mr Adjei indicated that investment in the infrastructural base of countries around the world, especially in Africa, had been woefully inadequate over the years.

According to the 2009 World Bank review, Africa needs about $93 billion annually to fill its infrastructural gap.

“Therefore, to enable the government and our development partners to effectively plan for these expenditures, there is the urgent need for a software of this nature that will allow for realistic pricing of projects so that our budgets can be prepared based on verifiable costs,” he added.

He, therefore, entreated all procurement entities, the donor community, the budget division of the Ministry of Finance, Parliamentary Select Committees and other professionals within the construction sector to us the software which would be made available online to arrive at credible budget estimates in the conduct of their duties.
Make effective use of software
The Director of Public Financial Management Reform Project, Dr Mohamed Sani Abdulai, said the project, the first of its kind in the sub-region, was sponsored by the World Bank to sanitise the way public financing was conducted.

He, therefore, urged stakeholders, including the Ministry of Finance and the PPA, to make effective use of the new system to ensure alue for money in public procurement

Source: Daily Graphic
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