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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Reverend Akuila Yabaki
CEO - CCF