Sat | Dec 10, 2016

ICAJ expresses concern about aspects of new procurement bill

Published:Saturday | January 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM

A SENIOR executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica (ICAJ) is cautioning a parliamentary committee examining the Public Procurement Act against opening up the procurement process locally to players in other CARICOM countries.

Raymond Campbell, council member of the ICAJ, told a joint select committee of Parliament reviewing the proposed law that he had serious reservations about opening up the process to the region, especially at a time when there is no reciprocity.

The ICAJ council member said inviting service providers from the Caribbean to bid for local contracts to offer services could be harmful to local service providers.

"I don't think there is reciprocity within the Caribbean Community for Jamaican firms to bid on jobs in their territories, so we think this puts us at a competitive disadvantage and we would like for that to be looked at and considered," Campbell explained while making a submission on Thursday on the Public Procurement Act in Gordon House.

DISADVANTAGE

"It's an issue that we continue to grapple with, and for firms who have decided to make a commitment in terms of employing resources on a full-time basis - acquiring supporting infrastructure - to now have that subject to competition from persons who have not made such a commitment to the economy, we think, puts us at a disadvantage," the ICAJ executive stressed.

Committee chairman and minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Finance, Horace Dalley, indicated that the Government would tread carefully before signing off on this issue which the ICAJ highlighted.

"If we can come up with something that can insulate the Jamaican supplier and Jamaican contractor from the CARICOM competitive bidding until and unless other CARICOM countries offer the same to our people, I would like us to protect them from the outset when we pass this bill," Dalley assured.

Committee member Dr Morais Guy also had concerns about opening up the procurement process, particularly to service providers in the region.

"I see the concern for not having a level playing field in respect of that because people can just easily move in here and the competitive advantage is lost, but secondly there is no reciprocity," he said.