Procurement Symposium aims to educate suppliers on regulations
The first Procurement Symposium, an initiative of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure was today held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre and focused on educating new and existing suppliers about the Procurement regulations.
Public Procurement is deemed as very critical to the government with 70 percent of the national budget or some 160 billion dollars of the national budget dealing with this process.
Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson quoting statistics as provided by the Finance Ministry noted that the country loses billions of dollars as a result of corrupt procurement practices.
She noted that “the country loses approximately 28 billion Guyana dollars annually due to corrupt behaviour in Public Procurement, which includes sole sourcing of drug contracts, contract splitting, inflated engineer estimates…in some cases overpayment to contractors.” However, she assured that this is being addressed.
According to Ferguson, increased transparency and elimination of corruption through education on the requirements of the Procurement Act and other regulations is necessary so that suppliers could participate in the procurement process intelligently.
Speaking at the event too was Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Jaipaul Sharma who pointed to the fact that Guyana has been elevated to a high middle-income country which is not that favourable to contractors, since this indicates that available funds would be limited, with government depending on taxpayers’ dollars to fund projects.
“Taxpayers would demand value for money this is why this (symposium) is important because the small business act… which stipulates that 20 percent of government contracts must go to small business (es)… now 32 billion is what is available to you so you need to have the necessary guidance and the skills to compete for that amount,” Sharma told Suppliers.
Meanwhile, Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson in his remarks said apart from the Ministry being inundated with requests for contracts, there is the problem of distrust in the system, due to what he blames on what had obtained under the previous administration. “Persons are and were of the impression that the process was geared to employ certain contractors and that new registrants didn’t stand a chance,” he said.
Patterson re-emphasized that this too makes the symposium relevant, noting that there is room for new entrants, once they meet all the requirements.
Suppliers present at the event were able to pitch questions to the Chairman of the Guyana National Tender and Procurement Administration and other officials.