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Gov't announces new public procurement policy

Wednesday, July 30, 2014    

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THE Government yesterday tabled a bill to streamline and transform the present public procurement regime, including its legal and regulatory framework.

In a statement to the House of Representatives prior to tabling the bill, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Horace Dalley, referred to it as "Jamaica's first stand alone public procurement law".

He said that the bill seeks to delete from the Contractor General's Act all provisions related to the National Contracts Commission (NCC), which is to be replaced by the new Public Procurement Commission.

The new Public Procurement Commission will play an expanded role, aimed at promoting efficiency in public procurement proceedings, and the implementation of procurement contracts, as well as promoting transparency and equity in the award of contracts.

Dalley said that the commission will also be responsible for the registration and classification of contractors, and will be authorised to hear their appeals from the decisions of procuring entities.

He said that sector committees will be established by the commission to assist in the revision of procurement contract award recommendations and will evolve into specialist committees, technically competent to review related subjects, including insurance, civil engineering and works, goods and general services, information and communication technology and consulting services.

Dalley said, too, that the aim is to modernise laws relating to public procurement by replacing the existing legislative framework with an updated comprehensive law containing provisions reflecting new policy and thinking in the area of public procurement.

He said that in addition to the commission, a procurement policy office will also be established, and a Procurement Review Board established to regulate and harmonise public procurement processes.

The methods of procurement will be expanded, and the circumstances in which bidding occurs expanded to include two stages -- open and closed framework agreements as well as electronic government procurement.

Contractors who feel that they have suffered loss or injury due to breach of duty imposed on a procuring entity under the law will be able to lodge a complaint and seek a review of the procurement proceedings.

The new policy will allow an appeal against a decision of the procuring entity to be made to the commission, and to the Procurement Appeal Board by persons who still feel aggrieved.

— Balford Henry

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