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Prime Minister meets Staff of the Central Procurement Unit

“Officers in the Government service should endeavour to impact the system in a positive way, leaving a legacy of continuous improvement: This takes character and a consistent stance for efficiency and productivity.”

That was the advice from Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Planning, Physical and Economic Development, Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell, as he met with the staff of the Central Procurement Unit recently as part of an ongoing Finance staff engagement initiative.

The Procurement Unit is mandated to facilitate the disposal of government assets, assist State Owned Enterprises, Government Ministries and Departments to align their legislative processes to reduce wastage and ensure Government gets the best value for money. The Unit is also in the process of developing broader purchasing agreements with the private sector and the general public to save money and improve the doing business process.

Over the last year, the Ministry of Finance has made several changes to the Unit to ensure that they are equipped to effectively carry out their mandate.The new construct has been highly commended by the World Bank as a model for the region. Among the decisions that are having a direct impact on the performance of the Unit and the consequent positive impact on government coffers are:-

The greater integration of ICT into the procurement process; policies to reduce the time taken to implement projects; the introduction of sustainable procurement practices; continuous staff training and capacity building exercises. Prime Minister Mitchell said unless we institute monitoring and evaluation systems with a built-in mechanism to ensure that accounting officers are held responsible for their actions, the country would continue to grapple with the crippling effects of corruption on the public purse. Dr. Mitchell believes these practices are facilitated by the lack of proper systems but emphasised that the key is to be fair and consistent across the board.

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