The Ministry of Infrastructure is currently in the process of creating a database which will keep a track record of the number of projects awarded to local projects and their performance with respect to each.
According to Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, the programme is expected to serve as a mechanism to better inform the process for selecting competent contractors to handle government projects.
The move is one which is supported by the head of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board, Berkley Wickham.
Speaking with this newspaper, Wickham said that it is important for procuring entities to keep a record of the performance of companies with regard to projects awarded.
Wickham was asked whether the tender board has a record of the contractors in Guyana, the number of contracts they would have awarded, their progress to date with some, and the performance over the years with previous projects awarded. He said however that this is not the responsibility of tender board, but for the procuring entity.
He added, “After all, they are the ones who would be involved in monitoring its progress, while tender board’s role is simply facilitating the process for the contract to be approved.”
Wickham was also asked by this newspaper whether the contractor’s years of experience and performance on projects awarded by government entities would be taken into consideration during the award of contracts for goods and services. The Tender Board Head noted that the process for selecting the contractors is guided by the evaluators. These evaluators, he said, follow the criteria for the selection of the contractor as stipulated in the tender document of the procuring entity.
In the meantime, Wickham emphasized that the Tender Administration Board is satisfied with the progress they have made in arming the system with effective anti-corruption mechanisms.
Wickham said that every initiative or intervention undertaken this past year was aimed at changing the long held perception of a tainted public procurement process. He said that the difficulty of this task was never underestimated, but its success is rooted in the need to achieve transparency, accountability, fairness, integrity and efficiency.
The NPTAB head said, “We are not there yet, but significant advances have been made. Some of these are; increases in the threshold limits for Regional, Ministerial/Agency Tender Boards; work in progress in developing debarment procedures; the Bid Protest Committee has been established and is functional; the Public Procurement Commission has been established; and we have been an active participant in the Task Force for the development of the Caricom Public Procurement Regime”.
Wickham said that NPTAB has also been working with the Ministry of Business to facilitate the participation of small businesses and women-owned businesses in the Public Procurement process.
Pursuant to Section 17 of the Procurement Act 2003, Wickham said that the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board has been organizing training in public procurement.
Wickham emphasised that it is important to note that procurement planning within agencies is a weak area. As such, he vowed that the Procurement planning intervention model will be rolled out countrywide.
The NPTAB head said that website improvement will satisfy the statutory requirement of timely posting of advertisements of procurement opportunities as well as awards. This, he said, will also prepare a strategy for the introduction of e-procurement in Guyana.
On another note, Wickham said that the existing legislation does not provide for e-procurement. He said that an upcoming legislation review will provide for this.
He promised too that a debarment procedure will be fashioned for implementation.
The NPTAB Head said, “There will be further training in February 2017 in contract compliance and management. As you can see we have been very busy this past year. In my opinion, we are poised to take procurement out of a long period of stagnation.”
Wickham said that moves are being taken to ensure that the Procurement system is elevated onto a pathway where electronic government procurement is the major tool to build a world class procurement process in Guyana.
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