By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE Government expects to roll-out its electronic procurement tendering system by mid-December 2017, according to its main co-ordinator.
Daniel Ferguson, who heads this part of the Public Financial Management and Performance Monitoring Reform project, said: “Every activity for procurement will be done electronically throughout the public service”.
He noted that companies seeking to provide goods and services to the Government must register with the e-tendering system, so the Government know who can provides what to meet its requirements.
The project’s public procurement component is aimed at providing better ‘value for money’ for the Government and Bahamian taxpayers. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has estimated the Bahamas could save $13.1 million per year through such improvements. The Government’s public procurement process has become so decentralised, different ministries have paid different prices for the same product, the IDB has found. And the US, in its annual country investment reports, has repeatedly criticised the system as opaque and susceptible to corruption.
Mr Ferguson, while addressing a recent project forum, said new legislation was being drafted to provide transparency in the tender process and modernise it. The legislation will call for the establishment of a public procurement office. “In order to achieve greater economies of scale the Government has decided to centralise the procurement of commonly used items, such as office supplies, cleaning supplies and food supplies,” said Mr Ferguson. He added: “We are expected to roll-out an e-tender system by mid-December. What it means is that any activity for procurement will be done electronically throughout the public service.
“It means that if you are a business that wishes to provide goods or services to the Government, you will have to register and we will then create a supplier register. We will automatically know who is providing what.”