Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI) notes with disappointment, the outstanding full proclamation of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act. This is especially troubling as a general election date has now been set and Parliament has been dissolved.
In 2004 as a first step towards legislation, the Green Paper, was introduced and some 16 years later after repeated commitments by successive administrations, the Act is yet to be fully pro-claimed.
As noted in the sixth report of the Joint Select Committee on Finance and Legal Affairs – inquiry into the implementation of the new public procurement system, the Office of the Procurement Regulator has been successfully established, the majority of the proposed staff have been recruited, the Office is adequately funded and is functioning as effectively as possible within the constraints of only partially proclaimed legislation. With all of these measures in place, the reason for delay in the full proclamation of the Act is at best, unclear.
Modern public procurement legislation is a fundamental requirement if our country is to stamp out corruption.
TTTI recognises and commends the Government for the tremendous efforts in the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. A fully operational Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act would, however, have been a useful asset towards ensuring accountability in expenditure.
Another fundamental and long outstanding matter is Campaign Finance Legislation. The Representation of the People ( Amendment) Act was only recently placed before a Joint Select Committee. The proroguing of Parliament means this process is also suspended.
TTTI underscores the importance of effective, enforceable Procurement and Campaign Finance legislation in the fight for good governance and the fight against corruption. We therefore look forward to these matters receiving priority and attention on the resumption of Parliament.