After months of preparation, and years of legislative reform, the Government’s landmark public procurement legislation took effect on September 1st.
The Public Procurement Act, 2021 has implications for all government entities and state owned enterprises, which have been undergoing training and orientation exercises over the last four months. The Public Procurement Department, located in the Ministry of Finance, is fully established. Mr. Carl Oliver is serving as Acting Chief Procurement Officer while the recruitment exercise of the head of the department remains ongoing.
To implement the Act, all of the required ministries, agencies and other entities have set up their own Procurement Units and Tender’s Committees, which will self-administer and oversee the contract process under their budget remits up to specified financial thresholds.
“This is a government-wide process that has taken time to roll-out and will take time to iron out. The Ministry of Finance has conduct training sessions for all government entities as well as external stakeholders,” said Marlon Johnson, Acting Financial Secretary, adding that public education activities will be ongoing. The Ministry co-hosted a live two-day webinar series last month in collaboration with The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation with about 200 registered participants and over 5,000 online views. There will be ongoing public education through the Ministry’s social media channels and other stakeholder outreach.
“The Department will ensure that the reporting requirements on procurement activities are met, as well as the requirements for publication of the details of contracts awarded. We anticipate the first
publication online and in the media before the end of the month and that the publications will happen at set intervals thereafter. The Ministry and the new Public Procurement Department will work to ensure all public entities operate consistent with the provisions of the new law,” said Mr. Johnson.
A key provision of the new law is the requirement that bids be facilitated via an open online platform. The eProcurement and Suppliers Registry has been operational for some time in preparation for the new legislation. To date, there are 2,527 business suppliers registered on the eProcurement and Suppliers Registry. These businesses will now benefit from access to electronic notifications for all government tenders, and have the ability to be seen by all government entities seeking to source goods and services. Training for government entities will be ongoing.