[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Private Sector Commission (PSC) has come out in full support of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) stance on the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Amendment Bill.
However, its views on the stance taken by both Parliamentary Opposition parties (APNU and AFC) on the Procurement Amendment Bill and the establishment of that Commission seem to fluctuate.
This stemmed from a meeting between the three stakeholders on (Tuesday, December, 10).
According to a press release, the APNU pointed out to the PSC that, even though the (AML/CFT) Bill presented to Parliament in its present form may satisfy the minimum standards of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), it did not meet the conditions considered by APNU to be essential for the implementation of the Legislation.
The Private Sector Commission in turn, expressed its support for the position but urged APNU to support the referral of the Bill to the Parliamentary Special Select Committee and make every possible effort to find consensus and complete the work of the Select Committee in a timely manner.
Meanwhile, the AFC reminded the PSC that its support for the AML/CFT Bill being passed in Parliament is conditioned on the government agreeing to the appointment of the Procurement Commission as is currently legislated for by Parliament without any further amendment to provide the Cabinet with the right of a “no objection”.
The PSC says while it acknowledged the position of the AFC and had on more than one occasion urged the government to appoint the Procurement Commission as is required by the Constitution, the body proposed that the AFC consider reaching a consensus with government along the following lines:
· The Procurement Act should be amended to give the Cabinet the right to a no objection for contracts proposed by the National Tender Board even after the Procurement Commission has been set up.
· An objection can only be made if Cabinet believes that the procedures laid out in the Procurement Act were not adhered to. This is in the existing Act already.
· Cabinet’s objection should be made to the Procurement Commission as an oversight and appellate body, who will then review the reasons for the objection and make a ruling.
· If the Procurement Commission disagrees with the grounds for objection and finds that the law was adhered to as per the Procurement Act, then permission will be granted to the National Tender Board to proceed with the awarding of the contract as recommended by them without referral back to the Cabinet.
· If the procurement Commission agrees with the objection, then the matter is sent to the National Tender Board to remedy the short comings and sent back to the Cabinet for their no objection.
· Once the Act is amended by parliament and assented by the President, the Procurement Commission should be installed with a level of urgency.
· Adequate funding should be provided to ensure that the Procurement Commission can carry out its function effectively.
The PSC said informed the AFC that the Commission is willing to represent this position to the government in an effort to persuade consensus. The PSC urged the AFC in the meantime to join with APNU in the Special Select Committee to find consensus on the AML/CFT Legislation.
The AFC agreed with the proposal of the PSC that the Special Select Committee meetings should be held in public.