15 October 2009 | Jake Kanter
The Jamaican government is reviewing its procurement procedures in a bid to prevent cost overruns and rule-breaking.
Speaking at an event organised by national newspaper the Jamaica Observer
this month, prime minister Bruce Golding said the government wanted to make public purchasing more reliable.
"We are reviewing the procurement procedure. We had a whole team looking at it and we need about two more sessions," he said.
Earlier this month, Greg Christie, the head of the Office of the Contractor-General (OCG) - Jamaica's independent, anti-corruption Commission of Parliament - published his annual report on government spending. It said improvement on issues such as corruption was "overshadowed by a number of significant shortcomings in the public sector procurement process".
The report revealed poor planning and weak management resulted in cost overruns of J$3.1 billion (£22 million) on 46 public works contracts last year. It also found suppliers were underperforming.
The 586-page review said the government procurement handbook, which covers the national buying rules, was not "entirely coherent" and must be simplified to minimise breaches to rules. Areas of non-compliance with procurement rules included "inadequate" tender documents and "incoherent" supplier evaluation criteria.
It added that problems could be avoided if the government gave more consideration to the OCG's advice.