There have been criticisms over the way in which many Government contracts have been awarded, prompting calls for the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC).
The PPC will have oversight on the process of how contracts are publicly tendered.
However, as the Commission’s establishment remains in limbo, Opposition Member of Parliament (MP), Anil Nandlall, the former Attorney General (AG), has observed this was “inefficiency and incompetence” on the part of the Government.
“I am not sure whether the [non-establishment] is intentional, but it is just another example of inefficiency and incompetence in Government. You have the Government not going to public procurement on many contracts that the law compels must be done…you have billions of dollars being awarded in contracts without complying with the Public Procurement Act,” the former AG noted.
Nandlall’s case in point was the Specialty Hospital contract where he noted Fedders Lloyd was “hand-picked” despite all the criticisms, with the company ending up being blacklisted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank because of corruption.
The People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) MP pointed out that the Commission was meant to be a watchdog over the procurement process and he surmised that the entire tendering process was “falling apart.”
“The Public Procurement Commission is a body to which those who are aggrieved by public procurement, by a decision or the process of public procurement. It’s supposed to be a watchdog of the procurement process, but it is important to note that while they are not establishing [it], the procurement process itself is falling apart because they are not going to tender on many contracts which require public tendering,” the former Legal Affairs Minister noted.
“The A Partnership for National Unity Coalition in their 100-day plan had said that the Public Procurement Commission would be established. We are over a year and that Commission has not been established. While we were in Government, they refused the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Bill because they wanted this commission to be established,” Nandlall further explained.
He also pointed out that there was “sloth in parliamentary democracy” as there have been fewer sittings of the National Assembly and parliamentary sub-committees.
“You have non-transparency and a lack of accountability across the divide at level of procurement, as well as Parliament; Government is reluctant to provide information…it’s corruption – institutional corruption,” Nandlall stressed.
The PPC is a constitutional body which has not been established since 2001. Corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) earlier this year ranked Guyana as “highly corrupt”, based on its calculated methodology. Before the 2015 elections, the coalition had stated its intention to ensure the early establishment of the PPC.