Government’s procurement system is "inherently biased towards financial management and control and there are no clear documented procedural guidelines in place".
This view was expressed recently by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Investment, Telecommunications and Energy, Ronald Bascombe, as he delivered an address at the launch of the Modernisation of the Barbados National Procurement System.
Noting that a thorough review of the procurement system had not been undertaken since 1974, Mr. Bascombe said that it was widely recognised that increasing the effectiveness, efficiency and transparency of public procurement systems, were on-going concerns of governments in developing countries and international development and financing agencies.
He added: "It is widely recognised that increasing the effectiveness of the use of public funds, requires the existence of a national procurement system that meets international standards."
The Permanent Secretary stressed that the development of Private Public Partnerships whereby private capital was utilised for the provision of public goods and services had brought new and complex challenges for the procurement specialist.
??"We need to ensure that at the local level we are equipped to respond to the challenges. It is necessary that the procurement system keep pace with, and to the extent possible, support other reform initiatives in the public sector," he suggested.
Mr. Bascombe disclosed that the Cabinet had agreed that as a means of promoting consistency, transparency and accountability across the system, statutory corporations, government-owned companies and other quasi-government institutions would be included in the new framework developed.
He also noted that the project would support activities in four strategic areas, including the creation of a central, regulatory and normative body within the Ministry of Finance, Investment, Telecommunications and Energy.
The role of the body will be to monitor and assess procurement activities in accordance with applicable internationally-established best practices, while taking into account developments within the Caribbean Single Market and Economy Government Procurement regime.
More efficient management of the procurement of common goods and services through the Central Purchasing Department, which will generate greater economies of scale; and decentralisation of specialised goods and services procurement carried out by Ministries and Departments, are two of the other strategic areas. ??