Attorney General and Member of Parliament for San Fernando West, Faris Al-Rawi speaking in Parliament on Friday during debate on the Procurement legislation.

Six business and transparency organisations are calling on the government not to remove government-to-government contracts from oversight under the Office of Procurement Regulation (OPR).

The call comes via a joint statement by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association, the T&T Coalition of Service Industries, the American Chamber of Commerce, the Joint Consultative Council and the T&T Transparency Institute.

The organisation said it supports the Procurement Regulator Chairman, Moonilal Lalchan’s objection the proposed Clause 5, which seeks to amend Section 7.2 of the Procurement Bill—the amendment that removes government-to-government oversight.

With that amendment, the OPR will have no oversight over any legal services, financial services, accounting or auditing services, medical services, or any other services as determined by the government.

“The Joint Chambers, JCC and TTTI agree with the points put forth by the OPR that this amendment serves to undermine the objective of the Act —and specifically, accountability, integrity and in particular —Transparency and Value for Money,” the statement said.

The lower house amended legislation was passed in Parliament on Friday with a simple majority and will go to the Senate tomorrow.

The organisations say that while they support procurement legislation, they believe the amendment erodes the intent of the law.

“The Joint Chambers, JCC and TTTI do not support the introduction of Clause 5 which seeks to make amendment to section 7 as this would act in contravention to the intent of the entire Act, thereby limiting its purpose,” the statement said.

The organisations are calling on the Government to withdraw the amendments to Section 7(2) in the Senate and commit to a definite date for the laying in Parliament of long-promised Regulations to operationalise the Act.