Ministry Fumbles In $40m Dictionary Contract Saga

The Ministry of Education (MoE), in an attempt to disclaim DAILY GUIDE’s publication on the procurement of dictionaries, has left more questions than answers.

The paper specifically mentioned in the Monday, November 9, 2015 issue that the government appeared to contradict itself on how it was going to raise the funds to pay the company that will eventually win the bid to supply the dictionaries to basic schools worth $40 million.

In a rejoinder signed by Dan Osman Mwin, Head of Public Relations, the ministry rather focused on the importance of dictionaries to basic education in the country.

DAILY GUIDE never said that the dictionaries were not vital to education.

Bizarre Position
The rejoinder further mentioned how enrolment had increased dramatically at the basic level and the fact that the dictionaries were going to improve the English language skills of the pupils.

It also touched on how it took government about a decade to procure more dictionaries.

‘The last time the Ministry procured dictionaries was in 2005/ 2006 about 11 years ago. The enrolment in 2005/06, according to our records, was 3,596,854 whilst enrolment in 2014/15 is 5,785,074, an increase of 2,188,220 pupils, thereby creating a gap which the Ministry seeks to address by procuring 2,157,522 dictionaries for the upper primary schools and 1,583,915 dictionaries for Junior High Schools for distribution to pupils in public schools across the country,’ it said.

Interestingly, DAILY GUIDE said specifically that the open tender document prepared last September with ITF No.: MOE/DIC/ICT/01/2015 indicated on one breadth that the government, acting through the sector ministry, intended to apply part of its ‘budgetary allocations to cover eligible payments under contracts for the supply and distribution of English dictionaries to public basic schools in Ghana.’

However, the publication indicated the ministry said Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) would provide the funds.

DAILY GUIDE’s checks at GETFund indicated that there was no request for funding the procurement of dictionaries in such a huge project.

Strangely, the ministry did not mention the role of GETFund in the rejoinder which had featured strongly in the initial publication but chose to concentrate on enrolment and other extraneous issues including supply of textbooks and the development of human capital which the paper never talked about.

DAILY GUIDE wanted to find out how a contract could be put on tender when the budgetary allocation, part of which would be used to fund the supply of dictionaries, had not even been prepared.

Also, paper expressed concern about the payment arrangement such that the first tranche was expected to be released in 2017 even when budget for even 2016 had not yet been released.

Atlas Saga
On the issue of the Atlas, the ministry was not able to disclose if it had settled the $44 million contract with the five publishers. The Ministry, in a way, asked the paper to investigate its own allegations.

By William Yaw Owusu

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