By NATARIO MCKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE Minnis administration's public procurement reforms will "set aside" specific contracts for only small Bahamian businesses to bid on, the Deputy Prime Minister said yesterday.
Opening debate on the 2017-2018 mid-year Budget statement, K P Turnquest said the Government intends to introduce new legislation in the area of procurement and e-procurement.
"The focus of this more modern framework would be on enhancing the transparency of bidding procedures," he added. "This legislation will be revolutionary in many respects. In large part it will discourage, in the most transparent of ways, the practice of simply handing out patronage to cronies away from the eyes of the taxpayers who are footing the bill."
Mr Turnquest said that apart from much-needed transparency in the spending of taxpayers' monies, the legislation "will also allow the Minister to set aside specific bids solely for small Bahamian businesses only to allow them to get an opportunity to bid on government jobs and get the chance to grow and flourish.
"More specifically, the eProcurement and Supplier Registry system will create a unique means of access that is simple and easy to use for all opportunities with the Government of the Bahamas," he added.
"It will reduce barriers to access for small and medium-sized enterprises, and will allow the entire procurement process to be managed electronically.
"Users will therefore be able to access tender advertising, submit bids and be advised of the awarding of contracts electronically.
"The launch of the first phase of the Supplier Registry, which involves business registration only, occurred on February 5th, 2018. Phase II, full tendering, will commence in mid-2018."