…PAC Chairman urges swift action
Contractors across the country who have developed a track record of substandard and unfinished work are at high risk of being blacklisted by the Public Procurement Commission (PPC).
This is according to Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Irfaan Ali, who called on the recently appointed commissioners to act swiftly in taking disciplinary action against those errant contracting firms.
The matter of sums of money being overpaid to delinquent contractors was discussed extensively during an extraordinary meeting that was convened between the PAC and regional officials, on Monday at the Parliament Buildings, to address several irregularities which were cited in the Auditor General’s 2015 Report.
PAC Member Charandass Persaud urged regional officials to take measures to recoup sums of money which had been overpaid to contractors who were delinquent in executing their duties.
“We have to get back the money. We need to go after them, rather than having the money sitting there – monies that were already paid; and these people are laughing at us, because we can’t get it back because we waited too long to go after them,” the Member of Parliament (MP) stated.
Guyana Times understands that, in most instances, sums of money were overpaid to contractors in mobilization fees – which is a fraction of the contractual cost that is paid to the contractor to get his/her equipment to the site where the project is to be implemented. In some cases, sums of money over the standard or required amount are paid to the contractor, and the works are still not completed.
The PAC Chairman, who is also an Opposition Parliamentarian, supported the call, noting that wayward contractors would not be tolerated.
“We have advance payments that are not being recovered, and advance payments in some cases are in excess of what is allowed in the standard bidding document,” Ali lamented.
In a subsequent interview with this newspaper, the Chairman explained that the PPC would have to examine and implement its measures for blacklisting, so that contractors who are consistently delinquent could face the requisite level of debarment.
“I am urging for the speedy procedure (to be implemented) in relation to blacklisting errant contractors,” he posited.
Another irregularity that came up for discussion on Monday was the instances wherein contracts were not given to the lowest evaluated bidder. Ali observed that the contracts would often go to the second highest or highest bidder without any explanation given in the minutes. He noted that this is a matter which the Regional Tender Boards would have to address.
Auditor General Deodat Sharma, who was also present during that meeting, emphasised that if a contract has not been awarded to the lowest evaluated bidder, then such a decision must be reasonably justified.