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  • The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, June 2, started debate on the Joint Select Committee Report on the Public Procurement Act.
  • The legislation is aimed at modernising Jamaica’s public procurement laws and will reflect new policy thinking and international best practices in the area.
  • The Bill, when enacted, will be Jamaica’s first “stand-alone legal instrument,” which will guide and regulate how the Government spends money on the procurement of goods, services and works.

The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, June 2, started debate on the Joint Select Committee Report on the Public Procurement Act.

The legislation is aimed at modernising Jamaica’s public procurement laws and will reflect new policy thinking and international best practices in the area.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Hon. Horace Dalley, who chaired the committee, said the Bill, when enacted, will be Jamaica’s first “stand-alone legal instrument,” which will guide and regulate how the Government spends money on the procurement of goods, services and works.

He said the existing system is characterised by inefficiencies, delays and needless bureaucracy, with a lack of accountability and timeliness in responses, and there is need to build capacity and establish clear lines of demarcation within the institutional framework.

He said the changes being made “will transform the public procurement landscape, marked by improved business processes, greater efficiencies in the procurement proceedings and the contract award process.”

This, he pointed out, will lead to increased value for money and improved access to procurement opportunities by suppliers in Jamaica and around the world.

Among the recommendations made by the committee is that the Bill be reviewed every three years, instead of the stipulated five years.

Mr. Dalley told the House that clauses 23 to 25 were deleted “as they dealt more with details of the various procurement processes.” The committee had suggested that the clauses be removed as they were best suited in the accompanying regulations and handbook.

The Bill will also provide for the establishment of the Procurement Policy Office, the Public Procurement Commission and strengthen and expand the function of the procurement review board that will regulate and harmonise the public procurement process.

It also removes 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 methods of procurement have also been expanded, and the circumstances in which bidding occurs broadened to include open and closed framework agreements, as well as electronic Government procurement.