We're tied up in red tape
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The call for the Government to simplify the way we do business with its respective agencies came in for renewed attention during the recent visit of Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Her visit, while focusing on the overall success, to this point, of the IMF programme, provided an opportunity for us to look at other growth areas of the economy. The procurement policy and guidelines is one such area that should be immediately reviewed. The policy is cumbersome, repetitive and layered over like lasagne.
The first thing that needs to be addressed is to increase the contract value to qualify for public tender. The current amount, $5 million, is too small. It should be raised to $15 million in keeping with the inflation over the years since the current amount was established.
The National Contracts Commission should be abolished. Anyone should be allowed to tender on government projects, allowing a wider field of suppliers and more competitive bids.
All the work this agency does now could be carried out by the procuring entities. As to its Sector Committee, this unnecessary layer in the process should have been done away with long ago. It's a waste of time that often results in delays of up to three months in awarding GOJ contracts.
The Government should move with haste to address this albatross of bureaucracy from around the neck of the business community and allow us to set the country on a path to growth.