Government scrap outside help on spending

  • Finding savings: Wayne Furbert, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, has decided to cancel a request for proposal that sought help for spend analysis services (File photograph)

    Finding savings: Wayne Furbert, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, has decided to cancel a request for proposal that sought help for spend analysis services (File photograph)

A tender for outside help to help cut spending has been scrapped by the Government.

Wayne Furbert, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, said that he had decided to cancel a request for proposal for spend analysis services.

Mr Furbert added: “Although approval was initially granted for the RFP prior to me taking over as minister and funding allocated in the ministry budget, I, as the current minister, had never personally approved the RFP.

“I recognise that, as we work to be a more fiscally efficient Government, we have several reports in our possession such as the Sage Commission Report, the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre Report and the Efficiency Committee Report which can be utilised for this same purpose.”

The 33-page RFP issued last month said there was a “data deficit” and that expert assistance was needed to analyse the Government’s $200 million to $300 million spent each year on goods and services to identify where cost reductions could be made.

It said: “Visibility of that expenditure data is instrumental to the senior management and the procurement team’s efforts to enable cost savings, to reduce cost, be more efficient and more actively manage indirect spend across government.

“While the Government’s existing financial management systems are adequate for financial management and budgeting purposes, the data derived from these systems may be incomplete and/or inappropriately classified for use in automated spend analysis.”

It said that a costs-savings target had not been set.

But the RFP added: “The visibility of the expenditure data will help decision-makers determine those numbers in the future.”

Craig Cannonier, the Leader of the Opposition, said Mr Furbert’s statement raised “several questions”.

He added: “Not least, does he actually know what is happening in his department?”

Mr Cannonier said he found it “very hard” to believe that Mr Furbert was not aware of the document before it was published “especially given the vast amounts of money outlined in the RFP”.

He added: “The RFP acknowledged a data deficit and recognised that outside help was needed to analyse the hundreds of millions of dollars spent every year by Government on goods and services to see if savings could be made.

“Given that this was approved before Mr Furbert was appointed as minister there is clearly a consensus within Government that this needs to be looked at.”

Mr Cannonier asked Mr Furbert for more specific tactics, rather than “vaguely referring to previous reports, such as the Efficiency Committee Report”.

He highlighted that parliamentary questions had revealed that Mr Furbert had been paid $60,000 as chairman of the Efficiency Committee, at the same time as he was a junior minister.

Mr Cannonier said: “Hopefully his use of the report will find savings to more than make up for that pay bonus.”

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Published Dec 3, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 3, 2019 at 7:59 am)

Government scrap outside help on spending

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