Govt tightening screws on questionable contract awards, bad treatment of contractors

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 May 2024, 22:16 by Writer

In the wake of persistent concerns about government’s questionable award of contracts and the shoddy treatment of contractors, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday announced that steps were being taken to review the entire process.

“Let me put on notice all of those people who are responsible for procurement in public corporations, statutory bodies, the Ministries, Regions, everywhere, all the way up to the National Tender Board. We are examining the procurement procedures for compliance with the laws,” he told a news conference at his People’s Progressive Party (PPP) headquarters.

Mr Jagdeo made known the administration’s position almost six months after the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) had been criticised for not awarding a contract to a company, Akamai, after ignoring documents that had been submitted. Late last year, the award of a GY$865 million contract to Tepui Group to build a pump station was called into question also by opposition parliamentarian, David Patterson.

The Vice President acknowledged on Thursday that the procurement process was being examined because there were reports of contractors not being paid even after the tasks had been completed. He said there were also reports of the specifications of contracts having been altered after the award of contracts. “If we find that those officers are skirting the provisions of the procurement law, then there shall be consequences for them. Too often we hear complaints that in some parts of the country, somebody is doing something wrong,” Mr Jagdeo said.

The NPTAB is stacked with government representatives, a situation that several months ago had prompted opposition parliamentarian, Ganesh Mahipaul to publicly call for opposition representation on that body.