Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Ifraan Ali has set a March expiration date for the
establishment of the Public Procurement Commission.
Speaking with Kaieteur News following the presentation of the 2016 budget on Friday, Ali expressed contentment with the announcement of the Minister of Finance Winston Jordan, that the Governance Office will coordinate and fast-track the process for establishing the Public Procurement Commission.
The Chairman noted that this is in keeping with the committee’s objective to have the search for nominees to the Public Procurement Commission end by February 24, 2016.
The PAC, Ali said, has been working with a timetable to establish the commission by the end of March.
For years, Guyana’s public procurement system has been plagued by accusations of corruption and financial irregularities but it is believed that the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission would bring an end to these challenges.
According to the advertisement published in the daily newspapers, the PAC of the Parliament of Guyana is seeking suitably qualified persons to form the Commission.
The advertisement outlined Article 212X of the Constitution of Guyana states that “The Public Procurement Commission shall consist of five members who shall have expertise and experience in procurement, legal, finance and administrative matters and the President shall appoint the members of the Commission after such members have been nominated by the PAC and approved by not less than two-thirds of the elected members of the National Assembly.”
The PAC is looking to have the composition of the Commission, reflect as much as possible, the social gender and political make up of the country.
It emphasized that the persons nominated should be competent to carry out the required duties and the need to be of good repute would be applied.
In keeping with its decision to seek names from a wide cross section of the society, it is inviting stakeholders, political parties, organizations and individuals to submit the names of those persons they believe are eligible for the position by no later than February 19, 2016.
During his budget presentation, the Finance Minister said that the Government is seeking to fast-track the process for establishing the Public Procurement Commission, which will be pro-active in enacting a Code of Conduct for Ministers of Government and Parliamentarians.
Jordan noted that “simultaneously, the Office will coordinate implementation of recommendations by the steering committee on Constitutional Reform. The Government has made provision for the establishment of a broad-based Constitutional Reform Commission and expects this Commission to begin work during this year.”
“In keeping with this Administration’s commitment to uphold the Constitution with regard to the independence of constitutional bodies, Act No. 2 of 2015 Constitution (Amendment) Act 2015 and the Fiscal Management and Accountability (Amendment) Act 2015 were passed and implemented.
According to Jordan, these agencies will continue to provide annual reports and audited financial statements, in keeping with the reporting requirements under the FMAA 2003. In addition, Government will keep under consideration, the creation of a Parliamentary Budget Office to support the functioning of Parliament.
The Finance Minister also underlined the effects that the establishment of the committee will have several internal forensic audits being undertaken.
The audits are part of efforts to review the performance and efficiency of publicly-owned entities, statutory bodies and projects and activities financed by or through public funds. Most of the audits have been completed.
A preliminary analysis indicates that in a number of cases, there were acts of dishonesty and duplicity, mismanagement of resources, opaqueness of transactions and a disregard for basic internal controls, among others.
This was compounded by the absence or non-existence of functioning Internal Audit Departments. The Audits identified many instances where the laws governing the entities and their operations were violated with impunity, in particular the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act and the Procurement Act.
Jordan explained that the audits will provide a guidepost on enhancing accountability and transparency through improved operational procedures, financial reporting, corporate governance and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
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