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Procurement report laid in the House
The post of a regulator for procurement and the office of the regulator for procurement has been recommended by a joint select team of Parliament. A report from the team headed by Planning Minister Bhoe Tewarie was laid in the House of Representatives yesterday. Tightening of procurement procedures via legislation has been in the works since the previous administration’s tenure.
The People’s Partnership administration took up the issue last November, appointing a parliamentary committee involving Government, Opposition and Independent members from both Houses. The team was appointed to consider legislative proposals to provide public procurement and disposal of public property and to repeal and replace the Central Tenders Board Act.
Submissions were also received from representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank and the contractor general of Jamaica. The committee recommended that the procurement regime must deliver goods and services more efficiently, effectively and at higher performance levels than at present.
It was also suggested that the system take into account clear lines of accountability and ensure transparency and promote ethical conduct. It was recommended that the office of the regulator be constituted as a statutory body independent of any ministry.
The team suggested that to oversee the regulator’s reporting to Parliament, the Public Accounts Committee be made to perform the oversight function and that the procurement regulator should be also accountable to the Public Accounts Committee. The joint select committee said the regulator should be responsible for establishing centralised rules and regulations that will generally guide procurement matters at all levels, including electronic procurement.
The regulator will be appointed by the President. It was recommended that the regulator be responsible for investigating complaints from any party involved in public procurement. They will also ensure that the procurement process at all levels is above reproach at all times and will address complaints in expeditious ways.
The regulator will also identify matters which may require investigation and make recommendations to the Finance Minister for action on any matter where issues of transparency, probity or good governance may be compromised. The regulator will have to report to Parliament yearly. He or she will also have to submit special investigation reports within 30 days of the initiation of an investigation to the Finance Minister and Parliament.
The committee also recommended that the regulator be able to select and appoint staff to the office of procurement regulator on a merit basis. The regulator will also be able to employ alternative dispute resolution and mediation in the settling of complaints. The House later debated the recommendations. The House also passed amendments made in the Senate to the Electronic Monitoring Bill.
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