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Obey Procurement Act by notifying all bidders, instructs Junior Finance Minister

Participants at the National Procurement and Tender Administration’s Symposium.

The National Procurement and Tender Administration (NPTAB) was Thursday afternoon publicly instructed to take steps to have procuring agencies abide by the law and inform both successful and unsuccessful bidders for multi-million dollar contracts, in the wake of concerns that this was not being done.

“We want to see it happen and I am making it very clear that procuring entities are called upon to obey the Procurement Act as it relates to notification. It will bring an end to a lot of the grumblings and the dissatisfactions that exist in the society,” said Junior Finance Minister, Juan Edghill. He believed that the lapse was due to a lot of the procuring entities such as government ministries and agencies believed that it was unnecessary and a lot of the contractors were not interested in knowing their fate.

Edghill stressed that the reasons should be stated to bidders about why they would have failed or succeeded. The NPTAB Chairman, Donald De Clou was instructed by Edghill to dispatch a circular, reminding all Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Budget agencies of that obligation under the Procurement Act.

He advised that no contractor should take Dr. Luncheon’s announcement of what transpires at Cabinet to be synonymous with the award of a contract. He explained that all Dr. Luncheon does is announces that Cabinet has offered its “no-objection”.  “It is the Tender Board that will now have to do its work with the procuring entity for the award of the contract,” told a Symposium organized by the NPTAB and held at the Guyana International Conference Centre, Liliendaal.

“You cannot object to a contract that has not been awarded and this is where the challenge comes and  this is where the challenge comes because people believe that because  Cabinet offers its no-objection an award has been made. It’s two different things,” said  Junior Finance Minister.

He was at the time responding to questions by the Managing Director of Ansa McAl (Guyana) Limited, Beverley Harper whose company had submitted a bid for pre-qualification to supply drugs to public health institutions.  Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, had announced that the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (NGPC), considered in some quarters as being close to the government, had won the bid to do so. Harper has, however, said that Ansa Mc Al has not been informed by the procuring entity, the Ministry of Health, of its failure to be prequalified.

Edghill explained that the five working days begins from the date that the procuring entity has notified the bidders.

The Chairman of the NPTAB  said that his entity would “take action” on a Cabinet no-objection “once it is received” by formally advising the procuring entity that approval has been granted. The agency would then enter into a contract. He said protests should be lodged first with the procuring entity.

Well-placed NPTAB sources told Demerara Waves Online News on Thursday that the board has so far not received any formal notification of a no-objection that has been granted in favour of  New GPC.

The Junior Finance Minister, meanwhile, deemed as “regrettable” the failure by Ministry of Health to hold an agreed pre-bid meeting to seek clarifications. “As public officials we should keep our word and does not accurately reflect fairness and transparency,” he said.