FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert on Thursday promised amendments to the Procurement Act in Parliament where the Act’s regulations would also be laid in February. He addressed the post-Cabinet briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s. He said this legislative work could not be done in a piecemeal way.
Imbert said he had held talks with the Procurement Regulator (Moonilal Lalchan) as to whether the act should be amended to exclude its present coverage of two types of deal, namely government-to-government deals and public-private partnerships.
Of the former, he said it would be very hard for TT to enter into such a deal and then expect a foreign government such as that of the UK or US to subject themselves to TT law. Such an inclusion could curb any such deals between TT and foreign governments, he warned.
While the regulator had suggested his office would try to manage the situation as it goes along, Imbert said the Government did not want to leave the act open-ended.
“We will go to Parliament to address the whole question.” In the question session, he said Parliament would clarify that.
Saying much fine-tuning is under way on the regulations, he said they would be laid in Parliament after the debate on the act.
Imbert denied claims in a Newsday story on Tuesday that he has had the regulations on his desk for 134 days but not sent them to Cabinet for approval. He said the regulations were subject to the approval of both Houses of Parliament. He also said a letter from Lalchan had been sent to him on December 18, too late for action before the December 16 end of Parliament.
In the Tuesday story, Lalchan said the act was passed in 2014 and urged the proclamation of those sections that needed no regulations.
"Full proclamation gives us the teeth to do investigations and audits and that is what we are waiting on. We were given a number of dates previously and that kept slipping. We expect the minister to keep his word this time."