…NPTAB official clears air on issue
…Cabinet memo shows PPP doing same thing when Parliament was prorogued
THE Deputy Chairman of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board, (NPTAB) Mark Bender, shared his opinion on the recent issues raised by the opposition about the legality of the move to increase thresholds for the “Restricted tendering and Request for Quotation Methods of Procurement.”
Via a letter to Finance Minister Winston Jordan, the official cited Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo who had quoted several sections of the Procurement Act to support his claim that the increases are illegal.
Bender stated, “I submit that those sections are irrelevant to this issue at hand.” He reminded Minister Jordan that the thresholds for methods of procurement are contained in the regulations to the Procurement Act. Section 61 of the Act states as follows: “The minister shall, with the advice of the National Board or the Procurement Commission, make any regulation that may be necessary for the administration of this Act”. He added in closing, “I, submit therefore that the increase in the thresholds is legal.”
He further recalled that the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), by way of letter, had proposed that Finance Minister Jordan take action for new thresholds to be recommended.
Bender also reminded, via a forwarded Cabinet memo and regulations related to an increase in thresholds for the Community Participation method of procurement from $1,500,000 to $5,000,000, as executed under the previous Ramotar-led PPP administration. This document was signed by then Secretary to the Cabinet, Dr. Roger Luncheon.
Bender noted the Cabinet meeting was held on 11 th November, 2014, but Parliament was prorogued on November 10, 2014. He noted that whilst there was not a no-confidence vote, Parliament was prorogued to avoid a no-confidence vote. It meant that elections had to be held within six months
Bender explained, “Section 29 in the Act on Community Participation states that ” in circumstances where procurement is conducted in poor remote communities, where the competitive procedures described in this Act are not feasible, goods, works or services, the value of which does not exceed such an amount as may be prescribed in the regulations, may be procured either-
(a) in accordance with procedures that promote efficiency through participation of community organisations:
(b) through single source procurement from direct contracting suppliers or contractors located near the community”.
One could also question the timing and intent of this increase, according to Bender.
At his weekly presser, Jagdeo called on public officials not to honour the circular’s instructions issued Monday, February 4, 2019, by Chairman of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board, which listed higher thresholds for tenders.