Procurement process hindering garbage collection, says NSWMA
With reports of garbage pile-up littered across the country, the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) is arguing that part of the problem is the "lengthy" procurement system it has to "navigate" to get needed equipment.
NSWMA executive director Audley Gordon made the argument before the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) last week as he disclosed that approximately $7 billion is the ideal figure needed by the agency to provide "an efficient garbage-collection service".
Specifically, for a reliable service, he said that the NSWMA would need at least 50 new trucks as most of those in the fleet now need repairs, the most recent being nine years old.
PROCESS NOT SMOOTH
The 2016-2017 Budget approved last May contained $250 million for the acquisition of new trucks, but that process has not been smooth, according to Gordon.
"The process started somewhere about June. By the time we started with a particular brand of trucks, the National Works Agency, who has to give us the specifications, didn't approve that brand of truck after several weeks, nearly a month," he said.
"So we had to look at a different brand of trucks, and it took us about two months to get the specifications for this new brand. By the time we did that, we had to deal with the National Contracts Commission. By the time we finished that, it was at the back end of the year (2016) that we were in a position to do the Cabinet submission through our parent ministry to go now to get the final approval to purchase the trucks. When we started around 2017 calendar year, we were still in the procurement process."
PAAC chairman Dr Wykeham McNeill questioned whether it was not better for the agency to get the specifications from the NWA first before identifying vehicle brands. But Gordon said that the agency has to look for trucks that it can afford, and additionally, that a previous supplier is no longer in the region.
Some 17 new trucks will be added to the fleet throughout the year.