Opening public procurement to international competition, a powerful tool to fight corrupt practices- Minister Sharma 

Georgetown, GINA, July 19, 2016

It is important that focus be placed on procurement, because procurement represents a significant part of the national economy since the public purchase of goods and services has been estimated to account for a significant portion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

This statement was made by Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Jaipaul Sharma during an address at a one-day sensitisation workshop today, held at the Herdmanston Lodge, Georgetown. The workshop which was funded by the European Union (EU) was aimed at sensitising stakeholders in public procurement.

Minister Sharma told participants, “It is important that we focus on procurement in Guyana because procurement is a stimulus to the economy.”

The Minister further explained that, “Public procurement represents a substantial share of world trade in relation to the European Union and that public procurement represents a significant part of the national economy since public purchase of goods and services in Guyana has been estimated to account for 27 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), based on our 2015 budget.”

“The European Union/Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) Economic Trade Partnership (ETP) and the funding from the tenth and eleventh European Development Fund (EDF) are very important because Guyana is opening its public procurement markets to international competition,” the minister stated.

The Minister noted that opening public procurement to international competition “is a powerful tool to fight corrupt practices in public procurement contracts.”

Among the benefits identified by the Minister are government’s enhanced ability to obtain better value for money, increased transparency, legal certainty and the increased efficient use of public resources.

Procurement specialists from both the public and private sectors were challenged by the Minister to make their businesses more competitive since public procurement “constitutes considerable international business opportunities and once the local market is opened to international competition, Guyanese companies will face stiffer competition.”

Minister Sharma identified Government’s aggressive pursuit of the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission, outlining steps taken by the government to aid in the local procurement sector by increasing the various limits at the level of the various tender boards starting from the Ministerial board, and continuing to the national and regional tender boards. Additionally, there is Cabinet’s consideration of a proposal to increase the number of evaluators that are available to government whenever a contract is to be awarded.

Citing the importance of transparency and the unbiased award of contracts, the Minister said that, “the bid protest committee would allow those contractors that are not happy with the evaluation to make an objection within a stipulated time frame and that process as you know has already attracted at least one contractor.”

The Minister was at the time referring to a recent situation surrounding the award of a contract for the management of the Haag’s Bosch Sanitary Landfill. CEVON’s Waste Management has protested the award of the contract to Puran Brothers Disposal Incorporated.