…as gov’t levels playing field in regional procurement system
THE Ministry of Communities has begun a series of procurement and project implementation community workshops designed to build trust and confidence in the regional procurement process.
Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, said the workshops are in response to the cries of residents and contractors of discriminatory practices in the regional procurement system. He formally launched the inaugural workshop on the State House Lawns in New Amsterdam, Region Six, today.
Present were Region Six Chairman, David Armogan; Regional Executive Officer (REO), Kim Stephens and Deputy Mayor of the New Amsterdam Town Council, Winifred Heywood. The procurement and project implementation community workshops are targeting small contractors, including community service providers and other suppliers. Many of these stakeholders had traditionally felt excluded from the public procurement system. Other participants included evaluators and members of the Regional Tender Board.
One of the aims of the workshop is to help guide small contractors in the preparation of project procurement documents. The workshop will also aid in the contractors’ submission of tenders, thereby enabling them to better participate in the procurement process, Minister Bulkan explained. He noted that, “For a number of years, too many of our small and community-based contractors were shut out of the procurement process.”
Minister Bulkan added that, “We feel strongly enough, that the central Government and in particular the Ministry of Communities has a role to play, to provide support, to many of our smaller contractors, to allow for their participation in the distribution of this national and public pie.”
The workshops also aim to reduce the number of unresponsive bids, widen the number of contractors as well as suppliers participating in regional contracts and critically improve the quality of the work executed. “The procurement and project implementation community workshop is designed for your empowerment and to provide greater employment at the community level,” the minister told the workshop participants.
“It is also expected that overtime, from among this pool of contractors, as well as service providers, will come a new generation of reputable and reliable regional and national contractors and service providers,” the minister added. He said that it is the ministry’s expectation that the workshop will aid the lowest levels of the communities by providing for greater local economic empowerment, as well as improving the quality of life within the communities.
Speaking specifically to the evaluators and the members of the Regional Tender Board, Minister Bulkan noted that there has been “persistent and insistent cries” levelled at the process of public and regional procurement. He observed that equally, there have been calls for greater equity, integrity and efficiency among the key personnel involved in the process of determination of the contracts. Minister Bulkan advised the evaluators and members of the Regional Tender Board, to always ensure that there is adherence to the criteria which would be established in the bid document. He warned them against introducing foreign and extraneous considerations in the process of evaluating bids and for the awarding of public projects. “What we need are trusted evaluators in the regional system,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, Armogan pointed to the need for contractors to ensure integrity of the procurement process from their end. He stressed the need for contractors to ensure the integrity of the process by delivering value for money in the execution of projects that they are successfully awarded. In the coming months the ministry, with support from the regional administrations, will conduct similar workshops throughout the regions. (GINA)