Thursday, December 14, 2017

Chamber wants Govt to review bill

 The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce (TTCIC) yesterday called on the People’s Partnership Government to further review new legisla­tion dealing with procurement, even as a se­nior official of a civil so­ciety group said the measures opened the way for corruption.

TTCIC chief executive officer Catherine Kumar, speaking on the chamber’s radio programme, questioned whe­ther or not the population is receiving “value for money from the significant sums spent annually by the State in delivering goods and services”.

Kumar said the chamber is a member of the Private Sector/Civil Society Group on Public Procurement, which submit-

ted comments on the Government’s draft Procurement and Disposal of Pub-

lic Property Bill 2014 for consideration by Cabinet.

She said the group is of the opinion that any bill on procurement reform must be based on five “indispensable elements which we consider crucial to a modern, well-managed, fully accountable and sensible pro­curement regime in a democratic state”.

Kumar said these elements express the principles of good governance, transparency, accountability and value for mon­ey, which should inform the function and structure of the legislation.

She said these should be the use of public mon­ey as a cornerstone for any public procurement process; definition of procuring agency encapsulating any organisation responsible for transaction in the use of public money; effective independence of mechanism of regulation and grievance resolution; value for money linked to performance, efficient use of public money; and embedded participation of civil society in the main-

tenance of integrity of the procurement system.

Kumar said the private sector group had noted a statement issued last month by the Joint Consultative Council for the construction industry and was lending support to the call for a re­view of the controversial billion-dollar Bee­tham waste-water recycling project.

“The chamber is gravely concerned whe­ther a detailed needs assessment was underta-

­ken, given the high cost of this project,” Kumar said, adding it “was a business case presented which revealed the true value and benefits to both organisations when juxtaposed against other projects”.