Approximately 75 employees of statutory corporations who are involved in procuring goods and services will soon undergo training as Government modernises its National Procurement System.
The half-day sensitisation session will take place on Monday, May 27, at the Accra Beach Hotel. Participants will learn about the new mechanisms which will be coming on stream as a result of the modernised procurement system, including the legislative framework.
The modernised Barbados National Procurement System is designed to improve the effectiveness of public procurement, save money through competitive prices and reduce process time, while ensuring the transparency and integrity of the system.
Permanent Secretary with responsibility for Special Projects, Margaret Sivers, said 300 public officers who are involved in the procurement process at various levels had already been trained and added that similar sessions would also be held for the business community.
The Special Projects Unit in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs has responsibility for the modernisation of Government’s procurement system. Ms. Sivers stated: "We have a number of initiatives that are ongoing which would see a change in how the Central Purchasing Department carries out it functions, in that it would move from a purchasing to a regulatory agency.
"As a result, we would have had to relook our laws and for the first time the Government of Barbados will be issuing legislation dealing specifically with procurement. This piece of legislation will guide the way the entire Government sector, both central and general government, which will include the statutory corporations and government-owned entities, conducts procurement activities."
She revealed that the second draft of the legislation with comments had been resubmitted to the Chief Parliamentary Counsel for continued drafting and presentation to Cabinet later.
She stressed, however, that the procurement system was not a central government activity. "While Government issues an invitation for someone to provide a service, a supplier has to make the offer to us and from that perspective, we have always treated the modernisation of the procurement system as a national initiative and not only a central government initiative," she contended.
Meanwhile, PS Sivers also disclosed that an E-Procurement Information System had been acquired. "We are conducting user acceptance testing for the new E-Procurement Information System, which will move the full procurement process from manual to electronic, whereby we will now be looking at e-tendering and e-contracts. And, we are at the stage where we need to start training the officers who will be using it as well as the public in the various mechanisms which will impact on this E-Procurement Information System," she explained.