The National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) is currently in the process
of complying with the recommendations of the Auditor General’s 2015 audit report that due diligence should be carried when appointing tender evaluators.
Speaking with Kaieteur News yesterday, Chairman of NPTAB Berkley Wickham said that it is a continuing process. He said that the pools of evaluators are professional people, whereby most of them are already in professional positions within the various agencies and ministries.
“They are not unqualified people, in the sense that they are not people we just pick up.” Wickham explained that from time to time batches of evaluators are called into the board’s headquarters to ensure that they are familiar with the Procurement Act and the procedures in carrying out an evaluation.
He said that what is being recommended by the Auditor General is that documentation is prepared containing the qualifications of each evaluator. However, the Chairman reiterated that persons aren’t being picking at random but they are persons who are qualified in their field of work in the respective ministries.
He said that based on qualifications, persons are matched with particular procurements. Wickham said that what is being asked for is similar to Curriculum Vitae.
“We’re in the process of getting that and putting it on file.”
The NPTAB head said that checks have been done to ensure that evaluators are qualified, but there still needs to be documented proof of this.
When asked if the list is rotated, Wickham explained that the list of evaluators is quite extensive, reaching a total of almost 200.
“We have a small committee that when a particular procurement comes up, we try to peruse and pick persons, and we make sure that we don’t pick people too often because you need to remember that they are all working in various ministries and would have to be released to do this. It is almost voluntary.”
He said that based on this arrangement, NPTAB has to ensure that the persons are rotated and not overused.
Within the report compiled by Auditor General Deodat Sharma, it was stated that NPTAB has been found to be in default of not practicing due diligence as it relates to ensuring that persons appointed as evaluators had the expertise and experience as is specified in the Procurement Act.
Ministerial departments and Agency Tender Boards are required to nominate qualified persons to be considered by the National Board to sit on Evaluation Committees.
Auditors noted that a pool of evaluators was created and evaluation committees were formed to decide on procurement, subject to its jurisdiction. However, it was reported that NPTAB had not exercised due diligence to ensure that the persons appointed as evaluators had the requisite expertise and experience.
In response to this, NPTAB’s Chairman explained that a circular was issued in February of this year by the National Board to all Regional, Ministerial, Department and Agency Tender Boards.
These entities were reminded about Sections 20 (1) and 23 (1) of the Procurement Act 2003, which requires these agencies to nominate persons to serve on the evaluation committees.
Additionally, they were asked to submit the qualifications and experience of the nominated persons for the board to scrutinize. Based on this response, the audit office recommended that in appointing Tender Evaluators, the National Board should do all in its power that Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Regions undertake checks to ensure that candidates have the necessary expertise before nominations are made to the National Board.
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