Work on to strengthen gov't procurement system
The Government has been working to transform and strengthen its public procurement system to ensure greater transparency and efficiency in the management of this process.
Among the measures is the streamlining of the procurement process to reduce the time and money spent.
This was noted by Director General in the Ministry of Finance and Planning Dianne McIntosh while addressing the opening of a five-day training course on public procurement at the Mona Visitors' Lodge, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, on Monday.
McIntosh noted that public procurement, which currently accounts for approximately 30 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), is a high priority area for the Government.
She pointed out that since January 2013, Cabinet approved a total of 141 contracts valued at approximately $90 billion. This figure, she said, is not inclusive of contracts valued below $40 million.
The director general further noted that the Government has also sought to streamline the procurement process through the introduction of information and communications technology in the management of procurement, and the incorporation of new procedures aimed at improving transparency, efficiency, value for money and accountability.
"International standards have been attained in all stages of the public procurement process, from planning and requirements definition to the award, signing and administration of contracts," she added.
Other significant milestones include development and implementation of the electronic Government Procurement System in 2015; establishment of a procurement appeal board; mandatory publication of annual procurement plans for Government of Jamaica procuring entities; development and passage of the Public Procurement Act, 2015; and the Public Procurement Certification Programme, which commenced in 2014.
In the meantime, McIntosh welcomed the training programme, which she anticipates "will enhance the human, legal and institutional capacity to better allow Jamaica to honour existing commitments and attain the objectives of the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union (EU)".
In his remarks, Head of Section (Cooperation) of the EU Delegation Achim Schaffert said the training, which covers areas such as competition, procurement and trade facilitation, "comes at a very opportune moment".
"It should be seen in the context of the ongoing economic reform programme, and also in the context of the ever-growing economic exchange within the region, growing regional integration, and we definitely welcome the initiative and the growing cooperation within the region, within CARICOM and CARIFORUM," he said.
The CARIFORUM-EU Public Procurement Capacity Building Programme is a five-day training course targeting a select cohort of procurement practitioners, public officials and policymakers in Jamaica.
It is a regional initiative aimed at strengthening Jamaica's public procurement capacity as a member state within CARIFORUM, and simultaneously supports the country's current trade and development partnership with the EU.
The programme is being implemented by a consortium led by Equinoccio (Spain) and includes the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the Maastricht School of Management (Netherlands). They partnered locally with the International Procurement Institute Jamaica Limited.