Let’s use E-procurement to reduce corruption; grow SMEs

Accra, Mr. Simon Annan, Co-Founder of SmartBid Ghana Limited, has encouraged the utilisation of technology for procurement processes to reduce corruption in the supply and procurement industry and to foster the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises.

Speaking at a Business SME Summit in Accra on Wednesday, Mr. Annan said the E-Procurement initiative could reduce the high cost of procurement in public sector and increase transparency in procurement processes.

He noted that the challenge of fragmentation of the system of bidding in Ghana, which engendered corruption, would also be addressed with the use of E-Procurement platforms, like SmartBid.

It would also increase accountability, and create space for small businesses.

He made reference to countries such as the United States of America (Georgia), South Korea and Chile, who had made over $200 million, $6.6 billion and $150 million annual savings, respectively, through e-procurement as compared to the paper-based system used in Ghana.

“In Chile the number of physical visits to bidding offices has been reduced from five visits to none,” he noted.

He, therefore, urged all Ghanaian organisations who wished to trade in a faster, more reliable and credible way to embrace the SmartBid platform for the procurements.

“This platform seeks to create a reliable and credible online business portal that connects suppliers and buyers from both public and private institutions in Ghana,” he explained.

The business owners at the Summit were also taken through the Procurement Act by Mr. Frank Mante, who urged them to follow due diligence while carrying out bidding transactions.

Ms. Stella Addo, the President of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) Ghana, and Head of Procurement at Fidelity Bank Ghana, also lauded SmartBid for introducing an online platform that connected suppliers and buyers.

She said E-Procurement was the only sure way to advance businesses in a technologically developing world.

“This platform allows procurement professionals across the world to communicate information simply and efficiently, streamlining the global procurement process; reducing time and costs without compromising on standards and quality,” she added.

Ms. Addo called on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage of the initiative to grow their businesses, adding that, it could reduce transaction time and the cost.

Speaking on some of the benefits SMEs could gain from E-procurement, she said they could gain through Increased Standardization with electronic catalogues because most suppliers would be moved to offer a more standardized offer, thus allowing buyers to easily compare the offers from e-catalogues.

She, however, cautioned that care must be taken as it was sometimes difficult to assess the quality of products without samples.

But she noted that E-Procurement platforms like SmartBid had simplified Global Procurement applications, which supported various languages, currencies, international taxation and financing, shipping regulations and more, making it is simpler for buyers and suppliers in different countries worldwide to communicate and co-operate.

These, she said, could increase productivity in the long run.

SmartBid Company Limited is a wholly owned-Ghanaian entity registered under the Ghana Company Act.

It is an online portal that connects suppliers of various goods and services to buyers.

The company, which started operations about two months ago, currently has about 2500 businesses registered on the platform and has reached more than 600,000 people so far.

Source: Ghana News Agency