DETAILS of all expenditure undertaken to procure goods and services under the State of Emergency were provided to the House of Assembly by Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Economic Growth, Job Creation, External Affairs and the Public Service, Allen Chastanet yesterday.
The Prime Minister explained that the detailed report was part of the Government’s efforts to ensure full transparency and public accountability.
According to the Prime Minister, while the waiver for the application of any rule of law governing procurement was never utilized, and no such Order was issued by the Minister for Finance and that the report presented the data compiled on the procurement of goods and services for COVID-19 during the State of Emergency declared on March 23rd 2020.
Prime Minister Chastanet reported that the data, which was compiled from the procurement authority registers, using four levels includes transactions valued under $50,000.00; Transactions valued from $50,001 to $100,000; Transactions valued above $100,000 and Direct Procurement.
“It should be noted that the total expenditure for goods and services procured during the State of Emergency for the COVID-19 response is estimated at fifteen million, four hundred thousand Eastern Caribbean Dollars across all Central Government procuring entities,” stated the Prime Minister.
He noted that “the majority of individual procurement transactions recorded during the State of Emergency was related to the health sector.
“These included: the supply of respiratory masks for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, the purchase of reagents for testing and surgical masks and bodysuits for physicians and healthcare workers, the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), airfares, lodging and accommodation for the Cuban Medical Brigade, comprising of doctors and nurses who assisted in the initial stages of the response, materials and equipment for testing, boarding and lodging of persons in quarantine and isolation centres, boarding and lodging of persons who provided support during the period retrofitting of the Victoria Hospital for conversion to a respiratory hospital, retrofitting of other medical facilities and refurbishment of the arrival hall at the airports.”
The Public Procurement Report on the State of Emergency noted the following amounts: Medical Equipment $3,202,584.89; Personal Protective Equipment, $1,572,486.44; Medical Materials & Supplies for Testing $1,112,881.99; Airfare, Lodging & Accommodation for the Cuban Medical Brigade $888,673.89; Accommodation for Persons in Quarantine & Isolation Centres $4,611,423.19; Retrofitting of Health Facilities $550,646.63; Water Tanks $1,102,592.02; Computers & Equipment to Facilitate E-learning $2,348,161.00.
The Prime Minister explained that other significant direct procurement activities included water tanks, acquired to assist with water storage for increased sanitation and computers and equipment to facilitate the e-learning for students across the country. It was further explained by the Prime Minister to the House that during the State of Emergency, an increase in the purchase of hygienic products (cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers, gloves and face masks) was recorded.
The principal factors, the Prime Minister explained, that determined the selection of the suppliers of the goods and services were: the ability of the suppliers to deliver the goods in the requisite (short) time, the existing relationships with suppliers and the suppliers’ willingness to accept more flexible payment arrangements and extend more favourable credit terms at minimal cost.
The Prime Minister made the full report with details of suppliers available to the Members of The House while explaining that the Director of Finance is currently championing the initiative to improve the data analytics for the purpose of reporting on Public Procurement to the relevant authorities.
“This is part of a broader reform in Public Procurement being undertaken by the Department, the rollout of which will be communicated to all stakeholders,” noted the Prime Minister.