Masterbuilders president urges gov't to initiate review of delisted contractors
The president of the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association (IMAJ) is urging the Government to conduct a review of the re-registration of contractors by the National Contracts Commission (NCC).
Carvel Stewart was speaking to members at a logistics hub symposium organised by IMAJ and sponsored by the Jamaica National Building Society late last week.
The IMAJ president's call comes five years after some 84 contractors were removed from the list of entities approved by the NCC in 2009, following an investigation by the Office of the Contractor General. The contractors had been cited for giving fraudulent information to win Government contracts.
However, in May Transport and Works Minister Dr Omar Davies told Parliament that while the police concluded that there were errors in the registration of the contractors, the actions of the contractors did not amount to fraud. The Government had reported, at the time, that 65 of the 84 contractors had been invited to reapply to the NCC, while 15 were still being investigated by the fraud squad.
But Stewart complained that there still needed to be a "proper review". He said the requirements for registration were onerous for local contractors.
He called for government support to "remove obstacles to access" and said Government should look at implementing a policy that mandates foreign companies to partner with local contractors to carry out local projects.
He added that the margin of preference given to local players for government contracts under the procurement guidelines should also be enforced.
But in opening the symposium, Davies said local contractors must be willing and prepared to collaborate with each other to strengthen their competitiveness against foreign companies, especially as the country takes steps to position itself as a global logistics hub.
According to the transport and works minister, several opportunities are to emerge with the expansion of the Kingston Harbour and privatisation of the Kingston Container Terminal, but he said local contractors will have to employ new approaches and partner with each other in order to make the best of the opportunities. He said there were now several foreign entities contracted to undertake jobs in Jamaica, which could have been done by local contractors.
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