Prime Minister Samuel Hinds has said the government has put the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission on hold as it seeks political consensus on how it is set up.
Hinds made this disclosure on Thursday in Parliament in response to a question by AFC MP Sheila Holder, who asked for a status report on the failure to establish the constitutional body.
The Public Procurement Commis-sion was one of the decisions coming out of the constitution reform process. The Constitution empowers the commission to monitor and review all public procurement systems to ensure that they are in accordance with the law. It is to be made up of five members, who are supposed to have “expertise and experience” in procurement, legal, financial and administrative matters.
However, wrangling over the numerical composition has stalled the nomination process, which was being handled by the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) since 2003.
Among the Commission’s primary functions is monitoring the performance of procurement bodies for adherence to regulations and efficiency in procuring goods and services and the execution of works. It would have oversight over the procedures of ministerial, regional and national procurement entities as well as those of project execution units. Further, the commission is mandated to investigate complaints from suppliers, contractors and public entities and cases of irregularities and mismanagement, with the power to propose remedial action in all instances.
In this regard, the Commission and the Public Procurement Appellate Tribunal is seen as integral since there is currently no recourse for contractors who feel wronged by the selection process.