Jul 18, 2016 News
“The same preferred boys who got the contracts back then are assured of the contracts today…”
After assessing the performance of the coalition Government in office thus far, Executive Member of the Working People’s Alliance, Dr. David Hinds believes there is still serious work to be done to right several wrongs and straighten some “crooked” ways.
In his most recent writings, the columnist opined that there is still discrimination in procurement.
“The same preferred boys who got the contracts back then are assured of the contracts today.”
The political activist said that whether it’s in waste management, construction, provision of health care, or supplying drugs, “small contractors are still left out in the cold.”
The WPA Executive Member said that in some instances, the mechanisms for appeal seem to be out of reach.
He added, “Contractors who messed up projects in the past are still being granted contracts. Even if we are now playing by the rules, they are unfair rules.”
While Dr. Hinds holds this view, Finance Minister, Winston Jordan recently stated that he plans to tighten up on all loopholes in the procurement area.
According to Jordan, he intends to provide a greater degree of assurance about the transparency and fairness needed in the award of contracts. The economist said he wants to ensure greater confidence from all stakeholders in the system. He insists that this becomes paramount since there is no Public Procurement Commission (PPC) in place.
Jordan said that this is also part and parcel of his efforts to bring transparency to the national budgets as more than 70 percent of it deals with public procurement.
The Finance Minister noted that the appointment of the five-member Commission requires the approval of two-thirds of the Members of the National Assembly. He said that unfortunately, the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) is not viewed as independent enough to carry out an objective assessment of tenders leading up to the award of contracts.
Jordan recalled that the Government has recently announced the replacement of members of the NPTAB. He said that there will also be compliance with principles laid out in the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and United Nations Convention against Corruption to which Guyana is a signatory.
The Finance Minister said that Government will review and revise where necessary the Procurement Act and its Regulations and present these to the National Assembly by December 2017.
He said, too, that the NPTAB will establish complaints mechanisms and debarment procedures that take account of international best practices. The deadline for this is also December 2017.
In the meantime, Government has approved the implementation of a Bid Protest Committee which will receive complaints of breaches in the state’s tendering process. The body had been one of the requirements laid out in the public procurement regulations.
Cabinet has since received recommendations from Jordan, for the appointment of a Bid Protest Committee. A nominee of the Attorney General’s Chambers is expected to be the Chairperson.
The award of contracts in Guyana by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) has always been a matter of contention in several quarters. There have been accusations of favouritism along with other complaints of anti-competitive practices.
Former Auditor General Anand Goolsarran, who had spoken extensively on the matter, said that the weak systems of the NPTAB need to be addressed by the new administration, as they cost the country approximately $28B annually.
He then pointed to credible allegations of corrupt behaviour in public procurement. These included sole sourcing of drug contracts, contract splitting, inflated engineer’s estimates, evaluation bias on behalf of favoured contractors, the use of inexperienced contractors, the absence of competitive bidding in some cases and overpayment to contractors.
Goolsarran had said that at least US$140M is lost annually by looking at those areas. His estimation was gleaned from an overview of the Auditor General’s reports on the country’s accounts over the past few years.
Goolsarran had said, too, that there are certain parts of the Procurement Act which have not been adhered to since the Act came into effect on January 1, 2004.
These include ensuring the criteria used for selection are such that they do not discriminate against particular contractors and suppliers, and the award of contracts based on the lowest evaluated bid as opposed to the lowest bid.
Failure to look at these, he said, has also proven to be very costly to the country.
May 10, 2021Kaieteur News – Recently, Jamie McDonald; owner of Guyanas leading gym equipment and supplement supplier, Fitness Express, presented a sponsorship cheque to President of the Guyana...
May 10, 2021
May 10, 2021
May 09, 2021
May 09, 2021
May 09, 2021
Kaieteur News – APNU/WPA politician, Tacuma Ogunseye, published a letter on race relations in the Stabroek News of... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]