No word on Procurement Commission ; govt restates recourse to Bid Protest Committee

Last Updated on Sunday, 18 September 2016, 3:42 by Denis Chabrol

Guyana still appears a long way off from putting in place the Public Procurement Commission, although the National Assembly has given the green-light for the names of the commissioners to be sent to President David Granger for his approval.

It is now more than one month since the House approved the names of the would-be commissioners who have been agreed to unanimously by a bipartisan appointments committee.

Had the Public Procurement Commission been established, there would have been no need for the Bid Protest Committee which the Guyana government said is the option available for aggrieved bidders to challenge the decision by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB).

“The Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana reaffirms that any bidder involved in bidding to provide goods or services to the government who has any concerns relating to the process to pursue same with the Bid Protest Committee,” the administration said in the statement issued through the Prime Minister’s office.

The Bid Protest Committee was established in June of this year under regulations of the Public Procurement Act. The BPC is chaired by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Hon. Basil Williams and includes Mr. Archie Clifton and Mr. Ewart Adams. “The government once again reaffirms the right and implores any bidder which is dissatisfied with this or any government bidding process to pursue via the Bid Protest Committee,” government said.

The Guyana government made know its position that the Bid Protest Committee is the available recourse, in defending a decision by the NPTAB and Cabinet to approve the third ranked bid for the supply of boxed juice to nursery schools.

“The recommendation for the award of contract was made by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board which stated that all the technical and administrative requirements were satisfied by the winning bidder. The recommendation was subsequently considered by Cabinet and a no objection was issued for the contract to be awarded accordingly,” government said.

The administration said government’s reaffirmation of the Bid Protest Committee mechanism is in view of a concern being expressed to government by a manufacturer over the award of contract for the supply and delivery of boxed juice for national distribution to nursery schools in anticipation of the start of the current school term.

The Prime Minister’s Office explained that in that case Cabinet was advised that the lowest bidder was not recommended for the contract in view of continued issues with past performance dating back to 2012. Further, the second lowest did not meet a technical requirement of 25% natural juice content in each box after tests conducted by the Food and Drug Department.

The National Procurement and Tender Administration Board therefore recommended the third lowest bidder in view of that bidder having satisfied all technical and administrative requirements, government  added.

The proposed members of the Public Procurement Commission are Engineer and Attorney-at-Law, Emily Dodson; wife of former People’s National Congress Reform leader, Carol Corbin; Economist, Sukrishnalall Pasha who worked at the Bank of Guyana and the University of Guyana; Principal of the Critchlow Labour College, Ivor English and former  People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) government minister and Industrial Relations expert, Dr. Nanda K. Gopaul.

The Constitution states that the Public Procurement Commission shall consist of five members who shall have expertise and experience in procurement, legal, financial and administrative matters.

The establishment of the Public Procurement Commission will bring to an end Cabinet’s role in the award of multi-million dollar contracts. There will also no longer be the need for the Bid Protest Committee and there will be a limit to the responsibilities of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board.

The delay in establishing the Procurement Commission had been held partly because the PPPC had still insisted that Cabinet should have had a role to play in the spending of millions of dollars in public funds.