Jagdeo to complain to IDB over alleged procurement violations

Opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo says he plans to complain to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) over alleged breaches of the procurement laws by government, which he blames for the sloth in implementation of the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP).

“If you go to the Ministry of Public [Infrastructure] and the government on the whole, you will see the dismal failure in effecting the [PSIP]. So much so, that the IDB today is saying that they want to help them set up some delivery units. But the IDB needs to know that the lack of delivery on the contract is not because they are not aware of the procedures, it is because of the corruption. So, I hope the IDB doesn’t get entangled in this farce,” Jagdeo told a press conference last Thursday.

He charged that retendering for projects subverts the procurement laws and he said he would write the IDB to highlight the situation. “We are gathering up a file to do this,” he added.

Last Wednesday, the IDB announced that it was working with the David Granger-led government on improving the performance of the PSIP and that this could see the possible setting up of a “Delivery Unit” to manage results.

Recently, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan also lamented the sloth in the implementation of the PSIP.

The IDB, in a statement, said its country office had engaged the services of Delivery Associates (DA), a consulting firm specialising in supporting the improvement of the effectiveness and accountability of governments worldwide. It noted that DA has already completed a diagnostic analysis of how Guyana’s PSIP works, including an analysis of its delivery chain and that the firm was coordinating with the IDB to finalise the diagnostic report to the authorities, which would identify opportunities for improvements and present the model for delivery or implementation of the findings.

The IDB added that most countries adopt a model called a delivery unit or an implementation unit, a simple systematic process through which system leaders drive progress and achieve results specifically of capital projects carried out by governments.

But Jagdeo said on Thursday that the work of the IDB may be in vain as it is the procurement laws that are being broken. He suggested that it was the way the system is set up for works to be procured in the respective regions that allows for this to take place. “This government has put in place all these REOs [Regional Executive Officers]. These REOs are the Chairman of the Tender Board [in each region]. They change the procurement rules when they want to, when there is corrupt activities. For example, in Region Six, buying drugs for ten times the cost from the same company, the same day, ten times. Ten different contracts in a single day. The whole state is in a problem,” he said.

Successive administrations led by the PPP/C, including Jagdeo’s, had also been accused of similar practices.

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