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Gov’t tries to justify reasons for amending Procurement Act it voted on a decade ago

shot0001Ten years ago, the opposition had argued against Cabinet–which consists of the President and his Council of Government Ministers – having a role in the award of contracts.

The Government, at that time, agreed and voted to delete Cabinet’s role from the Procurement Act, but now with the call becoming louder for the setting up of the Public Procurement Commission, the Government wants Cabinet’s role back into the law.

The argument it is using is that ten years ago, the matter was rushed. Executive Secretary of the PPP/C, Zulficar Mustapha had this response when he was asked why he voted to bar Cabinet from saying yes or no to contracts.

In a sharply worded letter to the press, Mr. Ramkarran said that Ms. Teixeira’s account was a disgraceful falsehood, saying he had no part in making the decision and that three Ministers supported the Bill during the debate and all on the Government’s side voted for it, so the Government could not have been ignorant of the provision that it was voting for.

Today, the PPP/C executive secretary said that while the move to phase out Cabinet’s role in the award of contracts was a spontaneous decision, he was not completely blank about what was happening.

The Government is arguing that it cannot be blocked from having a say in the award of contracts for which it would ultimately have to answer for. He said that Cabinet’s role was a small one, only to offer no objection, but Dr. Singh would not be dragged into a discussion into how significant that role of Cabinet actually is, since if the Cabinet withholds it’s no objection, the contract could not be awarded.

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