Public Procurement Reforms: An Analysis of the Drivers of Procurement Irregularities in Ghana

The weaknesses in the procurement systems has led to increased procurement related losses over the last decade. An analysis of the Auditor General’s report from 2010 to 2020 indicates that loses associated with procurement and stores irregularities by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAS) have increased by about sixteen (16) times from GHC684,375 in 2010 to GHC10,667,174.60 in 2020. Over the same period procurement loses arising out of irregularities by Public Boards, Corporations, and other Statutory Institutions increased from GHC1,423,173 in 2011 to GHC846,134,269.00 in 2020, representing more than 800 per cent increase in irregularities. The procurement irregularities according to the Auditor General’s report were as a result of lack of compliance with the Public Procurement Authority Act, and poor store keeping by state agencies. In 2020, the total procurement and stores related losses by public boards and corporations were about 42 per cent of the increased healthcare spending of about GHC2 billion reported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Against this background, this study undertook an in-depth analysis of the drivers of high public procurement irregularities. The study aims to answer the following questions;

  1. What is the trend of public procurement irregularities in the last ten years?
  2. What are the common methods public institutions use in procurement?
  3. Is there a structural tolerance for procurement abuse and breaches?
  4. Is there an appetite for reforms to the public procurement regime in Ghana?

The findings of the report seek to provide empirical evidence to strengthen demand-side accountability which has been virtually absent after the 2016 reforms of the PPA Act. Additionally, the adverse effect of the pandemic on the fiscal health of the economy makes it crucial for government to consider policy alternatives to addressing the weak spots of the public financial management system.