Trinidad told to speed up reform

23 May 2007
More legal news

24 May 2007

An independent watchdog is calling for the government of Trinidad and Tobago to speed up its reform of public procurement.

The Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI), a chapter of the NGO Transparency International, has praised proposed reforms of government purchasing as "excellent", but not the speed at which they are taking place.

A report into the reform programme said: "The government's tardiness in implementation has engendered an atmosphere of doubt, disappointment and suspicion about its real intentions."

The group also said details about current projects, such as a new billion-dollar rail system, had not been made available to the public.

The government began its procurement reform process in 2005, to increase value for money, transparency and accountability in the purchasing process. It officially announced its new policy in September that year.

The reforms include fully decentralising public procurement, drawing up a legal framework for purchasing and introducing an independent regulator and regulatory agency to monitor and audit public procurement.

The prime minister said the new policy was due to start in summer 2006 but it was delayed until October. The government said the draft legislation would be finalised once a regulator was in place.

But TTTI's report said: "In the absence of the new regulatory regime, there is no ready means of learning what exactly their procedures are or how well or badly the state enterprises are following them."

SMmay2007

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