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Gov’t reading Riot Act to procurement officers – GS Dr Jagdeo

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plans to introduce pre-qualification system for contractors  

General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has underscored the government’s commitment to strengthening the procurement infrastructure countrywide.

Speaking during a press conference at Freedom House on Thursday, Dr Jagdeo said that a series of institutional and structural changes are underway, and the government has been reading the Riot Act to Guyanese in the different regions as well as the procurement officers.

“We have made it clear that if you violate the [procurement laws], particularly deliberately, you will face the consequences,” he asserted.

General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

At a recent press conference, the GS said the government is undertaking a thorough review of the procurement system across all levels of government to ensure compliance with the law.

As part of this agenda, the government is also exploring options for the implementation of a pre-qualification system for contractors.

Dr Jagdeo said this system aims to create a more efficient contracting process.

By regulating the number of contracts awarded to a single entity, it prevents over-reliance on one contractor and fosters opportunities for new businesses to contribute their expertise.

According to the GS, this proposed system can begin from a threshold of $50 million and above.

“So, if you’re pre-qualified to do work, up to $500 million, and you get one contract and you’re at $450 million when the, paper goes [to cabinet] it will say this contractor was pre-qualified for $500 million [and] already has a contract for $450 million. Therefore, the cabinet will say immediately that you can’t give another contract for $200 or $300 million because they have reached their capacity,”he explained.

Dr Jagdeo underscored that the government wants to ensure that the companies have the capacity to complete the projects they have been awarded in an effective and efficient way.

He said that this system will be implemented countrywide, and will impose a requirement on government agencies to report the contracts awarded and the contractors executing these works to the system.

“All of the agencies of the government will have to report to the centre or through a website about work that people have, so that the cabinet, the government can have a full picture,” GS Jagdeo added.

He also pointed out that there have been instances where the cabinet was unaware of contractors executing contracts for multiple ministries simultaneously.

“When a paper goes to the cabinet…often the cabinet doesn’t see the all of the work that people have in different agencies. You don’t know if a man is working for multiple ministries now. So, when you hear that, it’s a surprise sometimes. That is their system. So, we are constantly trying to upgrade the system,” he said.

This system will be implemented alongside other measures such as open bidding and the evaluation of bids to enhance fairness, accountability, and transparency in the process. Additionally, he explained that as the nation’s accelerated infrastructural agenda significantly ramps up the government’s procurement activity to implement a litany of projects, the bidding process is highly competitive.

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