The Procurement bill will be debate in Parliament in February, Minister of Finance Colm Imbert announced during the Post Cabinet Press Briefing yesterday.
Imbert denied media reports that he had procurement rules for the amendment simply languishing on his desk, and spent a portion of time at the briefing explaining that there had been an extended back and forth between his Ministry and the chief regulator concerning clauses in the bill up to December 18, two days after Parliament last convened.
“We had had a lot of discussion stretching over quite a long period over the latter half of 2019. This is myself, my staff and the office of the procurement regulator as to whether or not section 7 of the public procurement and disposal of public property act should be amended to exclude those two types of procurement for the purview of the office of procurement regulations,” he said.
Those clauses related to Government to Goverment agreements and disposal of assets inclusive of real property.
“So what the regulator eventually said on the 18th of December is you need to amend the act or we proposing that you amend the act to remove the function for disposal of public property from the office of procurement regulation but with respect to the other matter that we have been discussing for some time, we think we should just leave the act as it is. And the back story to that is that they will try to manage the situation,” said Imbert.
However, the Finance Minister explained that they wanted to properly amend the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act to avoid any potential complication, particularly with intergovernmental arrangements.
“Therefore we will be going to the Parliament when the Parliament is available in February of this year 2020, to address that whole question of how Government to Government agreements for the supply of goods and services are addressed. We don’t think it should be left open because it is subject to tremendous interpretation, ambiguity and confusion so we’re going to clarify the law with respect to Government to Government arrangements,” he said.
He then questioned given the timeline of the discussion, if he had indeed failed to act on the proposed regulations.
“The point I want to make is, if the Parliament went on recess on the 16th of December, and if the Parliament cannot convene to debate the regulations until February 2020. Then what is this story about? These thing sitting on my desk for 134 days? And if I received a letter from the regulators settling these matters on the 18th of December, two days after the Parliament went on recess then what is talk about this thing sitting on my desk for 134 days?”
Imbert confirmed that Parliament will reconvene on January 24, at the Red House. He explained the first
matter to be addressed, on the 27th will be the closing of the accounts for fiscal 2019. He explained those accounts must be closed within four months of the end of the financial year making the deadline January 31, 2020.
Following the settlement of this matter, Imbert said the Procurement bill will be debated.