Since the recently-proclaimed Public Procurement and Disposal of Property Act came into full effect, the American Chamber of Commerce TT (Amcham) has noted various challenges being faced by its membership.
Amcham, in a release, said it has been working with the Office of Procurement Regulations (OPR) and the Finance Ministry to address the concerns companies have outlined with the new requirements and platform.
A virtual information session for its members was hosted by Amcham in collaboration with the OPR on August 25.
The session addressed the concerns about the procurement platform and the operationalisation of the procurement act, the release said.
Procurement regulator Beverly Khan, in her opening remarks, said the OPR understands the challenges being experienced by contractors and suppliers and has been working with the Finance Ministry to make the system more efficient.
The OPR proposed the following changes: staying at level two on the UN standard products and services code (UNSPC) system; introducing new codes to customise the lines of business; and removing the need for pre-qualification on the depository so that it becomes a registry of suppliers and contractors with particular lines of business. However, pre-qualification would still be a requirement at the level of the procuring entity.
Khan said this process will relieve the requirements of contractors and suppliers from producing on an ongoing basis – even outside of tender periods – a host of documents thereby allowing them to more easily register the name of their company, company address, articles of incorporation, additional company information, and the lines of business.
Only at the time of the evaluation and the pre-qualification process will companies be required to meet the statutory requirements concerning NIB, BIR, and VAT documents, she said.
“We want a registration process. It will be a marketplace for suppliers and contractors to engage for public bodies to see what are their offerings, and that will begin the process,” she said. “We have taken that pressure off our international suppliers and contractors. A lot of our public bodies have been encountering the challenge.”
Amcham said they understand the challenges but remain optimistic about finding a right mechanism to address these concerns, while simultaneously ensuring the act allows for increased transparency in the spending of public money and reduces corruption.
Amcham CEO Nirad Tewarie said, “We welcome the proposed changes outlined by the procurement regulator to make this process more efficient. We appreciate the engagement of the OPR on this issue and we look forward to building on the collaboration to create mutual trust and ensure that the procurement process becomes easier and more transparent at the same time.”