Sat | Jun 12, 2021

Integrity Commission orders public bodies to provide info on contract overruns and variations

Published:Thursday | April 22, 2021 | 5:21 PM
The deadline for submission is May 31. The commission says, among other things, the initiative is geared towards ensuring enhanced compliance, value for money, and transparency in the expenditure of taxpayer funds.

All public bodies have been asked by the Integrity Commission to furnish it with detailed particulars concerning contract cost overruns and/or variations that were incurred during the last financial year.

They have been given until May 31 to do so.

The commission cites that the GOJ’s Handbook of Public Sector Procurement Procedures defines a cost overrun as “… an increase in the contract sum resulting from escalation in the price of labour and/ or material.”, while a variation is defined as “… a change to the deliverable(s) under a contract caused by an increase or decrease in the scope of work to be performed, amount/type of goods to be supplied or services to be provided, and must be directly related to the specific contract.”

It says the initiative, which will be supported by a new web-based system, is geared towards ensuring enhanced regularity, compliance, value for money, accountability, and transparency in the expenditure of taxpayer funds on the award and implementation of Government contracts.

The data, which will be requisitioned annually, will also be tabled in Parliament and published, the commission pointed out.

It indicated that the formal requisition, which was issued under the hand of the commission’s Director of Investigation, Kevon Stephenson, requires all Permanent Secretaries and heads of procuring public bodies to provide the required information in respect of all projects of value greater than $500,000, for which monetary disbursements for cost overruns, variations, and/or any other price adjustments were made during the financial year 2020/2021, irrespective of the date of contract award.

The financial year covers April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021.

The commission says permanent secretaries and heads of procuring public bodies have been given detailed instructions on how the required data should be formulated and submitted.

It notes that the requisitions have been formally copied to the Cabinet Secretary, the Financial Secretary, the Auditor General, the Chair of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee of Parliament, and the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.

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