Cabinet’s involvement to be phased out in awarding contracts

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Minister of Finance Winston Jordan delivering remarks at the Procurement Symposium
Minister of Finance Winston Jordan delivering remarks at the Procurement Symposium

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan has indicated that he intends to change the way public procurement is done in light of the fact that more than $50Billion in services will have to be procured via tendering.

At the launching of a procurement symposium recently at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, under the theme, “Strengthening and Modernising the Procurement Process to bring about Positive Change,” Minister Jordan made this disclosure.

According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), the forum attracted public procurement officers and contractors, along with a number of other stakeholders.

“Going forward, we are going to change the way we do business in this country, the contracts we sign, the goods and services we procure, and the way these purchases are done…it’s about being more dynamic in our economy and public services,” Minister Jordan said.

It was noted that whilst the 2015 Budget figure stands at $221B, Capital Expenditure accounts for $39B, when the percentage of the budget, that will be used for maintenance and rehabilitation is factored in. This means that in excess of $50B of services will have to be procured through the tendering process.

“We are talking a lot of taxpayers money to be spent, so we have to ensure it is expended wisely and prudently… therefore, all procurement and tendering systems should be more open, competitive and transparent,” the Finance Minister expressed.  

GINA noted that whilst the coalition government inherited a plethora of problems as it pertains strictly to public procurement, immediate steps were taken to correct the deficiencies.

This resulted first in the composition of the Tender Board being changed and other positive steps taken to establish the Public Procurement Commission which is the oversight body of the tendering process in Guyana.

Minister Jordan said that the public believes there is credible corruption in procurement, but there are many forms such as sole sourcing of job contracts, contract splitting, inflating engineering estimates, and evaluation bias in favour of certain contractors.

As the changes continue to take effect, Cabinet’s involvement will be phased out with the establishment of the public procurement commission, as currently all contracts are reviewed by them before being awarded.

The Administration is working with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to modernise the procurement process which will provide for an enhanced system overall.

Additionally, an overseas consultant will help with procurement planning, and the national tender board will develop a procurement plan at the start of every year which will guide all government project, whether in the pipeline or at the implementation state.

 

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