The government of Trinidad and Tobago is taking steps to strengthen its purchasing legislation less than a year after a procurement law was passed.
In January the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act 2015 established an Office of Procurement Regulation (OPR) within government with the aim of creating a “comprehensive database of information on public procurement”, including information on tenders received and the award and value of contracts. The law also set training standards and competence levels for procurement professionals.
But the Act, brought in by former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, came under criticism from the opposition People’s National Movement Party due to perceived loopholes and limitations. Persad-Bissessar’s United National Congress party was defeated in Trinidad and Tobago’s general election in September by the People’s National Movement led by Keith Rowley.
The amended bill, presented by current minister of finance Colm Imbert before the country’s House of Representatives, calls for a clear process to remove members of the OPR by tribunal where necessary.
The new bill also seeks to establish a Public Procurement Review Board, with the role of reviewing decisions made by the OPR. The board will comprise a retired judge, and a chartered accountant and a chartered engineer, both with specific experience of procurement-related matters.
It has now been referred to a committee of MPs and will be reported on in January 2016.