Infrastructure Ministry to sole source $400M in equipment

first_imgThe Public Infrastructure Ministry has been given the go-ahead to sole source up to 0 million in goods or services, even as millions are being utilised through the use of the Ministry’s Force Account Unit.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo made the disclosure on Thursday last as he questioned the timing of the move on the part of the Administration.Jagdeo told media operatives present at a press conference held that the party’s Freedom House Headquarters that they are in receipt of information which suggests that the Public Infrastructure Ministry has written to, and received permission from the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) to utilise the sole sourcing method to the tune of $400 million.This means that the Public Infrastructure Ministry will have received permission to sole source the value of $400 million in equipment or services, literally hours before the presentation of the 2017 Budget and days before all Government agencies are expected to close off their accounting books and return all unspent monies to the Consolidated Fund.Sole sourcing, according to Jagdeo, is to be used in specific circumstances related to proprietary reasons and for instances where comparable materials cannot be sourced otherwise.“What is this special thing about sole sourcing equipment,” Jagdeo questioned, as he outlined that the permission granted by NPTAB will now give the public works authority to buy equipment without going to public tender.Worrying situationJagdeo said the situation is worrying in light of the revelations coming out of the D’Urban Park Project and the Ministry’s involvement, coupled with the fact that the Force Account Unit of the Ministry of Public Works is being abused.According to Jagdeo, the Force Account Unit is currently spending tens of millions of dollars on projects that are not being contracted out and subject to any supervision.Speaking to the vagaries of the use of the Force Account Unit of that Ministry, Jagdeo recalled that during his tenure as President, the department had been asked to re-pave the driveway at State House.Jagdeo said the department had come up with an enormous sum for the procurement of asphalt for the project, but when an audit of the measured works was done it was found that the material actually cost 80 per cent less.“They came up with a figure for asphalt alone that was enormous in the millions and when I asked to see the measured work that figure fell by 80 per cent,” he said.The former President now Opposition Leader pointed out that the Ministry’s Force Account Unit doesn’t have the kind of scrutiny that would obtain if the project is publicly tendered,“This Ministry has a proclivity towards using this method and we are aware of the abuse because individuals are speaking out,” he stated.Procurement investigationsHe used the occasion to remind that the Public Procurement Commission was set up and put in place where persons can lodge formal complaints and initiate investigations – an avenue Jagdeo is urging be used. “Individuals who are aggrieved can protest,” said Jagdeo, who used the occasion to also point out that public entities can also lodge formal complaints and initiate investigations.The Opposition Leader said his Office was one such public entity that can lodge complaints and this was a cause that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) will be taking up.“We will start to lodge protests with the Public Procurement Commission,” Jagdeo pledged.He also used the occasion to warn the personnel responsible for adjudicating bid and the overall tendering system that Cabinet no longer has a role in the process.“No Cabinet member should be calling any member of the procurement authority to ask to approve a contract,” Jagdeo said.He cautioned that persons in the system found to be liable when the Procurement Commission investigates, can in fact be subject to penalties.With the instalment of the Public Procurement Commission, the ‘no-objection’ role of Cabinet with regards the issuance of contracts is being phased out.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *