Government defends contractors registration extension
The Jamaican Government is defending its decision to extend the registration of some contractors until February next year, saying the move is designed to maintain efficiency in the registration process.
Yesterday, the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) questioned the legality of the decision it described as a highly questionable, very dangerous and reckless act.
Under the rules of the National Contracts Commission (NCC), the registration certificates of all Government contractors automatically expire one year after they are issued.
On expiration, all contractors must seek re-registration from the NCC in order to legally qualify to bid for Government contracts worth more than $275,000.
The OCG feels the moratorium could compromise the integrity of the process.
However, a release from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) says that while the integrity of the process is crucial, the NCC also has a responsibility to maintain efficiency.
The Government argues that the NCC’s responsibility for efficiency cannot be served by leaving in suspension contractors who were previously processed and recommended by the OCG.
It explains that the moratorium became necessary after the OCG discovered certain irregularities in the applications made by some contractors and instituted a more rigorous verification process.
The Government says several contractors began complaining about the time the registration process was taking under the new system.
It says it was against that background that the Cabinet made the recommendation to the NCC.
The Government says the proposed extension until the end of February is designed to allow time for the thorough evaluation of contractors seeking re-registration.
It also sought to assure that the extension would not apply to those contractors whose applications the OCG had reason to believe involved misrepresentation or fraudulent activities.
Meanwhile, the Government says it has also recommended that the NCC consider making the registration period longer than one year and increasing the monetary limits for each category of contracts.