Ahcam Disappointed With GOVT… Moves to Limit Procurement Regulator
TRINIDAD GUARDIAN, FRIDAY 31ST JANUARY 2020, WRITTEN BY GEISHA KOWLESSAR-ALONZO
The American Chamber of Commerce of T&T (AMCHAM) is disappointed by Government’s decision to proceed with proposed amendments that would limit the authority of the Procurement Regulator as it relates to Public Private Partnerships and Government-to-Government transactions.
In order to build a truly fair and transparent society, there must be oversight over all institutions, said AMCHAM’s T&T’s president Patricia Ghany.
Speaking at its Economic Outlook Forum 2020 themed, “A Vision for 2020 and Beyond” and held at the Hyatt Regency yesterday, Ghany said in order to have a society that is inclusive, safe and productive, it must also be fair and transparent.
“To this end, AMCHAM T&T has repeatedly called for the full proclamation and operationalization of the Public Procurement Legislation.
“This legislation is a powerful weapon in the fight against corruption and crime,” Ghany said.
She added that AMCHAM T&T therefore, “wholeheartedly” supports our partners in the Private Sector/Civil Society Group (PSCSG)in calling for no amendments to section 7 (2) of the act.
At a recent press conference, Finance Minister ColmImbert said Government intended to make a slight amendment to this clause so that if the Government of T&T enters in to an arrangement with an other government for the sup ply of goods and services and there is a conflict be tween T&T’s procurement rules and the procurement rules of the other country, then the rules of the other sovereign state will apply.
Ghany, however, said that even after attempts to justify the changes, AMCHAM T&T remained resolute that amendments to Section 7 of the act will put the country in a disadvantageous position and leave much room for corruption.
“Further, we believe that there should be no more delay in proclaiming the sections of the act which do not require proclamation of regulations. “We can all agree that we need a fair and transparent society let’s put that vision into action,” Ghany said.
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She also reiterated the need for more collaboration at the political level, adding some consensus can be fostered.
“Surely our Government and Opposition, political, civic, business and labour leaders can come together and agree on some key crime reduction initiatives; initiatives that will continue regardless of which party is in Government,” Ghany added.
She also recommended that these same groups can come together to agree on some initiatives to reform the education system, prepare citizens for the future of work and increase productivity.
“Surely, these same groups can come together to agree on some initiatives to reform the education system, prepare citizens for the future of work and increase productivity.
“Surely, we can develop a coherent, long term population management strategy to address the declining, aging population and the impact of migration,”
She said the results of the business survey AMCHAM T&T conducted in collaboration with Ernest and Young over the past two months, showed that local professionals continue to leave and that there is also scant medium-term confidence in the TT dollar.
The survey also showed that a clear vision and plan for T&T country is a top factor in encouraging investment.