The new procurement legislation will be laid and debated in Parliament in January 2021.
This disclosure came today from Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ryan Straughn, as he addressed a half-day sensitisation seminar, via Zoom, for the business community, on the Procurement Bill.
Mr. Straughn told his audience: “We will bring this part of the journey to an end and move on to the next phase with respect to actually implementing a number of these very critical things, because it is required under our Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation Programme and the original plan.
“Notwithstanding COVID-19, we probably would have reached Parliament already, but there are a number of other critical pieces of legislation that the Ministry of Finance has to deliver, and this being a very critical cog in the equation.”
The Minister noted that training would be provided to allow private sector businesses and entrepreneurs to understand Government’s procurement plans, to ensure greater openness and transparency, with respect to execution.
“Once it (the legislation) is proclaimed, the IT systems and all of the necessary training will start to take place…in the first quarter of next year,” he disclosed.
He expressed the view that Government would be able to assist in driving growth in the economy through its procurement practice.
Government, he added, through its policies, must assist in empowering Barbadians so they are able to move from one level of business activity to another.
During the address, Mr. Straughn emphasised the importance of modernising Government’s procurement system and improving the transparency associated with it.
“As Government seeks to improve on the transparency and the accountability with respect to the conduct and execution of procurement as it relates to the Government of Barbados, we equally want to have a scenario…, where through the Social Partnership, that we can see a lot more transparency with respect to procurement within the private sector as well,” he stated.
The Minister said procurement plans would be published through the Government Procurement Department.
He added that the publishing of the information would allow for the private sector to determine whether the members wish to participate in the tendering process for procurement opportunities.
“If people know about it, then they can determine whether they want to engage in it or not, and that will be the central piece of the reform that this Bill is expected to deliver for the people of Barbados.
“Now equally, it means that suppliers will have to embrace a more technologically driven approach to the management of procurement. So, the system that is intended to be rolled out by way of the publication would allow for vendors or potential suppliers to register, certainly with the Government Procurement Department, working in conjunction with the Treasury,” Mr. Straughn explained.
Former Director of Finance and Economic Affairs, Martin Cox, who has worked extensively on the procurement project, sensitised the private sector to the new legislation.