Many are the letters and articles bemoaning the practices of government in the administration of the public procurement process. Even chief spokesman for government Dr Luncheon is bemoaning the activities and performances put on by those who are selected to produce work or supply goods for the nation.
More than ten years ago, I was asked to deliver the feature address at an IDB seminar/workshop that dealt with procurement in the public domain. I remember well the reception my remarks were given by those assembled. I felt then, and still do, that the selection of a few favourites to perform would eventually impact negatively on the nation’s economic structure. I asked then that we divvy up the works in tiers so that at least three distinct groups of contractors could be utilized on public projects.
Also that strict licensing, insuring and bonding of all levels of contractors be undertaken. As time progressed, this would have allowed for the more ambitious contractors to climb the ladder so to speak and grow into larger and more viable entities. Instead, what we have is a select band of players in the industry. Many of them are stretched beyond their natural capabilities and financial viability. The result is that severe cash flow, materials flow and other problems have choked them to a grinding halt. Why should the Hope project be still ongoing with two year plus extensions with no end in sight? Why have all the major roadways not yet been completed? The answers to these questions lie in the fact that what I highlighted so many years ago has now been taking place for the last three years with great regularity.
The solution lies in a pragmatic reinvention of public procurement where the emphasis is on the up-building of more players in the procurement community. The exclusive PPP/C club of affiliates must go. With this club will go the shenanigans and crooked dealings as we now evidence.
You and your publisher highlight almost daily the crooked dealings. I hope you publish this one since it appears that the boat is now at the edge of the falls.
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