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Foggo levels the playing field

Government reform minister Lovitta Foggo (File photograph)

A new code for government buying will help small businesses bid for public contracts, a minister said yesterday.

Lovitta Foggo, the government reform minister, told the House of Assembly that Government would “use its purchasing power” to help create opportunities for historically disadvantaged groups.

The Code of Practice for Project Management and Procurement will come into force on July 2.

Ms Foggo said: “The code is reflective of the Government’s commitment to improve good governance standards.

“This is a notable achievement. This government promised the completion of the code and we have now delivered.

“Through the implementation of the code we are effectively raising the standards of governance in this country as that is what the voters expect.

“This is a true example of accountability. Others promised, but we have delivered.”

Ms Foggo added officials were prepared for the code to come into force.

She said: “The Office of Project Management and Procurement conducted training sessions on the code for permanent secretaries, heads of departments, comptrollers and the Accountant-General’s Department during the period November 2017 to March 2018.

“Thereafter, heads of department were required to ensure the distribution of the code to all officers who are engaged in the purchasing process within their respective departments.”

Government also organised information sessions for contractors, vendors and suppliers.

Ms Foggo said: “The training and information sessions have yielded valuable and constructive feedback. We have been reminded of the importance of ensuring that the Government’s procurement processes are as efficient as possible and that its documentation is readily accessible by all prospective suppliers.

“We have been encouraged to be more flexible in providing for advance, stage or interim payments and to reduce the time required to process payments made to small business owners.”