Jul 23, 2017 News
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is encouraging the government to bring its procurement
systems in line with international best practices so as to enhance the quality of public investment.
The global body made this statement in its 2017 report on Guyana’s economy.
According to the IMF, enhancing the efficiency of public investment management could help foster economic growth. It noted that public investment has been relatively low for the past two years. The IMF believes that this is due to the 2015 elections, and delays in the procurement and execution of projects in 2016.
It said, “This has been a drag on construction, with spillovers to other sectors. It is therefore important to avoid similar delays in 2017. Bringing project selection, public procurement and investment management in line with international best practices would enhance the efficiency, timeliness and quality of public investment, including through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).”
In the near term, the IMF said that the government could help to unlock additional external concessional financing, reduce domestic financing needs and bring foreign exchange into the economy.
The officials noted that the IMF’s Public Investment Management Assessment (PIMA) could help streamline the appraisal, selection and execution of projects. So far, the Government has expressed an interest in that assessment.
Perceptions of corruption and favouritism have for years, sullied the image of Guyana’s public procurement system.
However, the APNU+AFC Government and top officials at the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) have made it clear that while there remains room for improvement, they are very satisfied with the progress they have made in arming the system with effective anti-corruption mechanisms.
This was supported and reiterated by NPTAB Head, Berkley Wickham.
Wickham had informed this newspaper on some of the key initiatives and interventions made since he assumed office as Chairman of the NPTAB.
He said that every initiative or intervention undertaken thus far was aimed at changing the long held perception of a tainted public procurement process.
The difficulty of this task was never underestimated but its success is rooted in the need to achieve transparency, accountability, fairness, integrity and efficiency, he added.
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.
The existing legislation does not provide for e-procurement, he added. 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 was further training in February in contract compliance and management. 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 made 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.
Additionally, at a national consultation on Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) Public Procurement System requirements, Finance Minister Winston Jordan had outlined that a number of changes are in the pipeline.
The Finance Minister said that under the Public Procurement Modernization Project, for which funding has been provided by the Inter-American Development Bank under a Technical Cooperation Agreement called Public Procurement Modernization and Financial Management Strengthening in Guyana, Component One will provide support to improve efficiency and value for money in public procurement through strategic planning and introduction of e-government procurement.
He said that the successor initiative by the CSME is Development and Implementation of the Infrastructure and Instruments for an Integrated CSME Procurement Regime.
Jordan said that the deliverables include the Procurement Bill and Regulations, Procurement Software and Hardware Installation, Development of Training modules and the ability to roll out these modules online.
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