New public procurement regime to take effect in 2019/20

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Minister of Finance and the Public Service Nigel Clarke says the new public procurement regime will come into force in the new financial year, which begins April 1.

Dr Clarke, who was opening the 2019/20 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, explained that the new regime will enhance the potential for micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to compete for larger shares of government procurement contracts.

It will also allow for ‘Set-Asides’, which refers to reserving a portion of the annual procurement budget for MSMEs; and Domestic Margins of Preference, which is the preferential treatment of Jamaican suppliers in accessing government procurement contracts in specific circumstances.

“I intend to table the Set-Aside and Domestic Margin of Preference Orders in this Honourable House in the first quarter of financial year 2019/20,” Clarke said Wednesday.

He told the House that the revised public procurement procedures manual will be available by April 1 and added that all 43 Standard Bidding Documents have been completed by the drafting consultant and the Technical Working Group will be finalising the revision exercise by April 1.

He informed that almost all entities are utilising the Electronic Procurement System, which aims to significantly improve efficiency and transparency in the acquisition of goods, services and works.

“The training and on-boarding of suppliers is an ongoing activity and many private sector industries have already been trained and are using the system,” he noted.

The finance minister reminded the House that the Public Procurement (Amendment) Act was passed in August 2018 and that two sets of related regulations have already been passed.

In that reagard, Dr Clarke has requested that the Public Procurement Commission and the Procurement Review Board be issued their instruments of appointment by the governor-general, effective April 1, 2019.

“The final set of regulations, which addresses the registration and classification of suppliers, and which can only come into effect after the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission, will be tabled in the first quarter of the new financial year,” he said.

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