Guyana has finally established a commission, removing government involvement in spending public funds on tendering and procurement, the Guyana Government Information Agency confirmed.
The Public Procurement Commission (PPC) consists of five members with experience of procurement, legal, financial and administrative matters and will bring to an end the government cabinet’s role in the award of multi-million dollar contracts.
The PPC Act was passed in 2003, enabling the commission, and requiring a two-thirds majority vote by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to accept the nominees. After 92 meetings of the select committee to identify nominees, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPPC) failed to name its nominee, said the information agency.
According to the country’s Demerara Waves website, the delay was caused in part by the PPPC insisting that the cabinet should have a role to play in spending millions of dollars in public funds.
Volda Lawrence, minister of social protection and a member of the select committee, welcomed the selections, and said: “All of Guyana wants to see transparency, accountability and more so a level playing field in the tendering process.”
Prime minister Moses Nagamootoo said: “At long last we have been able to see a glimmer of real bipartisan cooperation and we have in fact entered into history in bringing through the long awaited PPC bill soon to become a law.”
Last year the coalition APNU AFC (A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change) government moved to establish the commission when a review of public tendering and procurement processes led Finance Minister Winston Jordan to conclude that the system was “broken”.
He said it had fostered an environment of unfairness and inequality.
The Finance Ministry said the award of contracts in Guyana by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) has been contentious and marred by accusations of favouritism and other anti-competitive practices.
With the PCC now in place the NPTAB will also be sidelined. Jordan said that as well as establishing the ‘long-awaited’ PPC the government would implement a project to strengthen and modernise public procurement.
This would be funded by loans from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and would include strategic planning and the introduction of electronic government procurement.
Guyana’s government also pledged to consider a revision of the Procurement Act.
The five members voted onto the PPC commission are: Emily Dodson, Carol Corbin, Sukrishnalall Pasha, Ivor B English and Dr Nanda K Gopaul.