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New Board Planned To Oversee Contracts

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

PUBLIC procurement processes in the Bahamas, long derided by the US State Department as “opaque,” will be standardised through the Public Procurement Bill 2018, a draft version of which has been submitted to the Organization of American States who released the document.

The bill will bring structure to a process that has long been scorned by local businesses and advocated of good governance.

The bill would establish a Public Procurement Board. The boards’ members will include a chairperson appointed by the prime minister from outside the public service; the financial secretary who will serve as an ex-officio member; a permanent secretary of a government ministry; the director of public works; two people appointed by the minister of finance from associations that nominate a representative, including the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Bahamas Bar Association, among others; two people appointed at the discretion of the minister after consultation with civil society; one person appointed by the leader of the opposition; and a public officer appointed by the minister to act as secretary to the board.

The board will be responsible for making recommendations to the minister concerning contract awards for supplies, works and services exceeding $50,000; it will be responsible for approving and advising on procurement of goods and services above this threshold and will make recommendations to procuring entities concerning proposals submitted to or by them; it will also require procurement entities to furnish it with information, reports or other documents which it considers necessary for the performance of its functions.

While the bill mandates an annual report of the Public Procurement Department’s work be tabled in Parliament, it is not clear what mechanism will exist to keep Bahamians informed on the extent to which procurement policies and best practices are followed.

The bill allows procurement entities like ministries and departments to use one of a variety of procurement methods, including competitive bidding, selective bidding, restricted bidding and limited bidding.

The bill allows for some people to face debarment from certain privileges if recommended.

When there is a “preponderance of evidence” that a person or contractor has failed to perform in accordance with the terms of a contract or has a history of failure to perform or of unsatisfactory performance of a contract, that contractor can be debarred.

“Debarment shall be for a period commensurate with the seriousness of the case but shall not generally exceed three years,” the bill says.

It is not clear when the bill will be tabled in Parliament.

Under the bill, a Department of Public Procurement will be established with the responsibility for “enhancing economy, efficiency, transparency and due process in public procurement and the management of government resources.”

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 6 months, 1 week ago

Once again we see Minnis & KP doing the only thing they seem to know how to do: Grow the size of government at the taxpayers expense! How much will this new board of 10 persons cost Bahamian taxpayers? Why is it the Ministry of Finance in conjunction with the Office of the PM are unable to vet proposed government contracts in excess of $50,000? Is it because no one trusts our Finance Minister and our PM to do the right thing? Is it because our Finance Minister and our PM do not trust the civil servants that fall directly under their supervision? Surely the Minister of Finance and our PM are able to appreciate that such a new Public Procurement Board will not remove politics as usual from the selection process for such government contracts, but will merely add to the ever increasing costs of our already grossly bloated government.

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DDK 6 months, 1 week ago

Agree with Mudda. Sounds awfully complicated and weighted down. With such a huge Board, nothing will ever be accomplished. How much will all these appointments cost The People? All we need is transparency from the PM and from the officials of the various governmental ministries. Transparency on a TIMELY basis

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DDK 6 months, 1 week ago

Why do we need this ridiculous thing for US State Department and Organization of American States? We simply need the promised transparency for The Bahamian People, not more bureaucratic clutter.

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observer2 6 months, 1 week ago

Only 2 people from the private sector. The rest are career politicians.

I am sure all matters brought before the Board will be held private and confidential with no transparency. So even if the person from the private sector objects he needs to keep his mouth shut in order to get his $40,000 a year director fee.

Also the Minister can over rule the Board, just like they overrule all the Boards of Bahamasair, Water and Sewerage, BEC, National Insurance etc.

Ain nuttin change.

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realfreethinker 6 months, 1 week ago

The bitchers and mourners in this group really need to give the government a chance to make a difference. You guys are so cynical about everything. I know it's been 45 years of crap shoved down our throat, but at least let's see if this gov will make a difference

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DDK 6 months, 1 week ago

Hopefully the moaning won't turn into full-fledged mourning!

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realfreethinker 6 months, 1 week ago

DDK thank you for the correction.

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