New procurement legislation is expected to go to Parliament soon.
This disclosure came from Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, in a Ministerial Statement on the mid-year review, in the House of Assembly on Tuesday night.
Mr. Straughn said: “We expect to soon table in Parliament a new procurement law, which seeks to strengthen the fairness, integrity, and transparency of the procurement process. The law will also provide a framework to facilitate the audit of crisis expenditures and publication of contracts and names of successful bidders.
“Government is also working to adopt regulations for a procedural fiscal rule, which would require the Government to annually prepare and publish its fiscal strategy, including measurable fiscal objectives covering the medium-term, and to report transparently on the implementation of this strategy.”
The Minister pointed out that Government was tracking key crisis expenditures via a dedicated new line in the FY2021/22 budget and reporting to Parliament all COVID-related procurement contracts in excess of BDS$1 million.
He added that beneficial ownership information of public sector contractors had been made available, and an audit of the FY2020/21 crisis expenditures by the Auditor General was expected to be completed within a few months.
During his address, he spoke about the sums Barbados received from the various institutions since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 by way of loans for budget support, which were, on average, at interest rates between 1 and 3 per cent. They were:
- International Monetary Fund ($417 million);
- Inter-American Development Bank ($400 million);
- International Bank for Reconstruction and Development – World Bank ($200 million) with exceptional access, and
- Development Bank of Latin America – CAF ($200 million)
Mr. Straughn continued: “The loans provided to us at these highly concessional interest rates are testimony to the confidence that these institutions have in the management of Barbados’ economy. The same confidence is reflected in the external bond markets where Barbados’ bonds are currently trading above par, or in layman’s terms, above their original market value.”