Apr 28, 2018 News
…as pay package approved for Procurement Commission senior staff
The National Assembly has approved as much as $950,000 monthly, as part of the benefit package for senior staff of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC).
With the approval of the benefit packages, the way has been cleared for the full functioning of the PPC, which will initially result in a limited role for Cabinet in the award of contracts.
The packages for the Chief Executive Officer, Head of Corporate Services and Head of Operations were unanimously agreed upon by the members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), chaired by Opposition Parliamentarian, Irfaan Ali.
Ali tabled the Motion which was passed by the National Assembly on Thursday evening. He stated that once the senior officers are hired there should be no hindrance in Cabinet removing itself from the awarding of contracts, including offering its ‘no objection’.
“We are hoping that in keeping with good governance, transparency and accountability, Cabinet will remove itself from any role, including offering any no objection, in the award of contracts in this country. Otherwise we would be doing an injustice to the work of the Public Procurement Commission,” Ali stated.
According to the motion, the Chief Executive Officer will receive a package that includes $950,000 per month, gratuity of 22½ percent of gross salary paid semi-annually; entertainment allowance of $10,000 per month, telephone allowance of $15,000 per month; 35 days annual leave and vacation allowance equivalent to one month’s salary, along with 24-hour security.
The Head of Operations and Head of Corporate Affairs will receive identical packages. Their salary is pegged at $600,000 per month; gratuity of 22½ percent of gross salary paid semi-annually; entertainment allowance of $10,000 per month; telephone allowance of $15,000 per month; 28 days annual leave and vacation allowance equivalent to one month’s salary.
Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence said the approval of the benefits constitutes a vital core area of governance and represents the fulfillment of yet another aspect of the campaign promises made by the A Partnership of National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) administration.
“It is therefore quite evident that the addition of these persons to the secretariat of the Public Procurement Commission will undoubtedly consolidate the work of this body and this august house will be giving support to the establishment of a structure which will provide for the smooth and effective functioning of the PPC,” Lawrence stated.
The commissioners were sworn in during October 2016, before President David Granger, but without the key appointments, thus the PPC could not effectively fulfill its mandate.
Commissioners appointed include Carol Corbin, who chairs the PPC; former Labour Minister, Nanda Gopaul; economist, Sukrishnalall Pasha; educator, Ivor English; and Attorney, Emily Dodson.
Corbin told Kaieteur News that the Commission is pleased that the benefits package was approved after more than a year of negotiations. She said that interviews were previously conducted and persons subsequently identified to fill the three positions.
“We will immediately move to hire the persons to fill the positions. We have been working, investigating a number of complaints since we were appointed. We have hired other staff as we awaited the approval of the benefits for the three senior staff,” Corbin noted.
Corbin explained that the Cabinet will decide when they will relinquish their role in the awarding of contracts, pointing out that the PPC will not be approving contracts, but instead providing oversight to ensure the process is transparent, fair and competitive.
Legally, she explained, Cabinet’s involvement shall cease upon the constitution of the PPC. However, contracts over the $15M threshold continue to go to Cabinet. However, this is a conflict in the legislation that requires a parliamentary remedy.
Corbin stated that the act also allows for an incremental increase on the contract threshold that requires Cabinet’s involvement. This allows for a phasing out of Cabinet’s role in the awarding of contracts.
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