The Government of Jamaica is moving to speed up the contract award process.
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Hon. Horace Dalley, said Cabinet has embarked on a programme through the infrastructure subcommittee of Parliament. The aim, he said, is to improve efficiency so as to facilitate completion within 120 days.
The Minister, who was speaking in his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 2, said that public procurement is critical to boosting local, national and regional business activities, as it accounts for 30 per cent of Jamaica’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“It is generally agreed that the procurement process is too protracted and contributes to significant delays in the implementation of Government projects. We have found that from announcement of Request for Proposals (RFP) to the award of a contract, the time period can be as much as two years,” he lamented.
The Minister in the meantime, informed that Cabinet has issued drafting instructions for the development of a comprehensive Public Procurement Law and Regulations, which will guide public procurement, and bind public institutions to specific standards.
“The present system is managed under the Contractor Generals Act and the Financial Administration and Audit Act (FAA), neither of which offers complete coverage of the multiplicity of issues impacting procurement,” he pointed out.
The Minister also reiterated plans for the separation of the National Contracts Commission (NCC) from the Office of the Contractor General (OCG).
He said that the sharing of financial and human resources between the NCC and the OCG has compromised the independence of both institutions and makes it difficult to distinguish between the two.
He said that the NCC will have its own staff, secretariat and offices, and will function with five specialised sector committees instead of the seven general committees that now obtain.
These sector committees will be: Works; Consulting and General Services; Goods; Information Communication Technology (ICT); and Insurance Placement.
Mr. Dalley informed that the NCC will continue to safeguard fairness and transparency in the contract award process, while the OCG will carry on its monitoring and investigation tasks in the award and implementation of contracts.
Contact: Chris Patterson