CCF Media Release 19.6.12


New Procurement Decree Lacks Good Governance



The Procurement (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (“Regulations”) promulgated on 25th May 2012 raises serious questions about the extent of accountability and transparency in the government’s procurement practices and how tax payers funds are being spent by the State.


The amended Regulation lacks principles of Good and just Governance as required under Pillar 1 of the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress and Government must lead by example to ensure transparency in the utilization of tax dollars.
The Regulations amends the Procurement Regulations 2012 (Principal Regulation) to change the method by which the Tender Board is appointed. Rather than specifying who should be represented on the Tender Board, the Regulations provides that there need only be four members nominated by the Minister for Finance, who is also the Prime Minister.

The resultant situation is now open to considerable risk of corruption, whereby individuals with vested interests in certain contracts could be appointed to the Board to ensure a particular result. This potential conflict of interest – that of accountability of public office versus personal financial gain – seems to deliberately dilute the accountability and transparency that was previously put in place.

When this was set up, the Government stated that “this is to ensure consistency in procurement and tender practices and to enhance transparency and accountability when awarding government contracts.”
We therefore call for an independent (and independently appointed) body to be set up, which is tasked with the role of the Tender Board, with Government ministerial representation on that Board limited to only the extent necessary for technical and operational expertise.

According to the Principal Regulation, a ‘Tender Board’ was set up to “approve all procurement of goods, services and works valued at $30,000 and more”.

The composition of the Tender Board under the Procurement Regulations 2010 was previously specified as including The Permanent Secretary for Public Enterprise, The Permanent Secretary for National Planning, The Permanent Secretary for Works, The Permanent Secretary for Health, The Permanent Secretary for Provincial Development, The Deputy Secretary for Finance, The Director of the Fiji Procurement Office and an independent person from an anti-corruption institution or similar body appointed by the Minister”.

CCF’s programme of activities include educating communities on good governance principles, particularly in relation to accountability and transparency in financial matters. It is therefore imperative that the Government leads by example and implements all such measures as are necessary to comply with these principles, particularly when tax payers are being made to dig deeper into their pockets for such services.
For further information please contact the communications team at CCF on communications@ccf.org.fj


……………………….
Reverend Akuila Yabaki
CEO - CCF

Comments

Anonymous said…
Its a pity that CCF's Akuila Yabaki had not seen what he was supporting when he hastily joined the bandwagon in support of the 2006 coup, or atleast welcomed the clean-up campaign propaganda. I am waiting for CCF and Yabaki to call upon the regime to disclose how Professor Yash Ghai and his team were appointed to review the 1997 Constitution and how much is the Government going to be paying them from the taxpayers' pockets
A Website for Full Accountability prior to 2014 elections said…
It is the Transparency which must come first to aid full accountability. Surely, that was made quite plain by Aung San Suu Kyi in Oslo? And reinforced in Dublin? Eire is in a mess. It is retrieving itself from the mess by lashings of Good Governance. The world will no longer tolerate flawed governance. All those who apply it are found out instantly. They are seen to be unaccountable and therefore lacking in credibility and honesty. Fiji must fix its mess and all those who have made use of even one dollar of Public Money must now account for it: if necessary on their own. May we suggest a website be immediately introduced to permit this? No one shall stand for any elected office until they have made a full accounting of their use of taxpayers' funds (since 2006 December) It must be the very first question asked of them. First posters to be Professor Ghai and his Commissioners. Lead from the front!
Anonymous said…
I see the change differently. To have a permanently constituted Tender Board means that a tenderer knows whom to bribe in all cases, and whom to offer free dinners to. With the Board changing depending on what is to be procured, corruption is less likely not more likely. As for perceived lack of independence, the old Board was made up of appointees of the PSC, and most worked under the Minister for the PSC and Finance anyway. What is the difference? Public servants need to work under someone? This article by CCF seems to be motivated by distrust for the person who holds office as Minister of Fininace.
Another grubby loan before the cash runs out...... said…
@ Anonymous 5:09:00 pm

Your cynicism does you no credit whatsoever. It may well be justified but that is no excuse. Your "take" on the CCF article might notwithstanding be essentially correct. We would be 'full-on' stupid to disagree with them. Fiji's economy is now approaching junk status that is more than clear. Down the JW Blue Label as we slide into the Spanish Main! Or orchestrate another $500K grubby loan before the cash runs out? After all, our relatives and neighbours cannot be permitted to have nothing better to do, can they? My God, the Friday Mafia have come up trumps again. Give them all the widest of berths: their cards are all marked!
Anonymous said…
@, another grubby loan
Cynicism or realism? Doesn't all power corrupt without checks? Is there no abuse of tenders in Fiji? Hasn't there been under the old tenders boards? The boards should change regularly so the risk of bribery is lessened.

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