Stricter measures in place for project implementation across regions
– Min Dharamlall
Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Hon. Nigel Dharamlall says the Government has introduced stricter measures for the implementation of economic projects across the administrative regions.
These measures would address public procurement procedures, which were flagged in the Auditor General’s 2019 report.
“Moving forward, we are in a much better place. We have monitoring systems in place. Every region now has a dashboard that is monitoring project implementation on the technical advice of His Excellency,” the Minister said during an interview with DPI on Thursday.
The President has outlined all requirements that should be put in place for the smooth execution of the process, he said.
Auditor General, Mr. Deodat Sharma, in his 2019 report, noted several infractions by the former APNU+AFC Government, including breaches to the Procurement Act within the regions.
Minister Dharamlall said the details unfolding in the audit report are shocking.
“We have had cases of massive sole sourcing. We have had cases of bills of quantities being exactly similar to the contractor and engineers estimate. We have had cases where the lowest response bidder was not the preferred contractor. We have had cases where tens of millions of dollars in overpayment was made.
“We have had cases of hundreds of millions of dollars being expended without evidence of evaluation reports of the contracts or of the bid documents, and these are part of the procurement requirements,” he told DPI.
With the systems now in place, Minister Dharamlall said the process would improve.
“Project implementation will take into account of procurement, accountability, transparency. It will take account of expanding the wealth of Government as it reaches across the communities to the extent that we intend to have many more people involved in the contracting process so that will also engender greater employment.” The Minister said Government intends to address all the shortcomings that were highlighted in the report. He has already met with Regional Executive Officers to outline the new processes for project implementation and public procurement procedures.