GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT STATUS OF DISCUSSIONS AND UPDATE

The establishment of a competitive market for Government Procurement pursuant to Article 239 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas is one of the outstanding areas within the framework of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The Community has been engaged in the process of developing a Regional Policy on Public Procurement since 2003. The Project – Regional Integration of Public Procurement in the Caribbean, (ATN/ME – 11510-RG; Project Number: RGM1162) -was commissioned in 2003 by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat with a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).  The general objective was to support CARICOM in its efforts to establish an effective regional regime for public procurement that facilitates the full implementation of the CSME, and to participate more effectively in external trade negotiations relating to public procurement. Through this project, the results delivered led to the development of a Draft Framework Regional Integration Policy on Public Procurement (FRIP).

The FRIP was designed to identify and set out the conditions necessary for contributing to and progressing towards the full integration of the national procurement markets of the Member States into a single, unified and open market. This contribution will be made through the designing and implementation of a regional ‘best practice’ regime for public procurement that would enhance the CSME in a key aspect of economic growth and development

The CSME Unit through the assistance of funding from the 10th EDF (European Development Fund), has recruited various consultants to implement the various components of the FRIP such as drafting legislation, training, development of Standard Bidding Documents (SBD’s), Procurement Standard Operating Procedures (PSOP’s) and an electronic Community Procurement Notice Board (CPNB).  The draft bill has been circulated to Member States legislative branches (Legal Affairs/Attorney General Office) for comments. Member States were also requested to give their inputs on the SBD’s and PSOP’s for their approval and, ultimately, implementation. At Present the CPNB has been built and is now in its testing phase, with small sample groups in Member States doing hands on test, with full implementation slated for the end of June 2017.  This assistance provided by the 10th EDF is slated to come to an end in August, and all components of these projects are to be concluded.

With the implementation of the FRIP; St. Kitts and Nevis, Service, Goods and Works providers will be able to participate in Regional/Community procurement opportunities with predictable and transparent procedures and documents in a non-discriminatory manner. Stakeholders can also use various means of joint-ventures and partnership agreements to participate in procurement opportunities.  The FRIP also lays the foundation for advancement towards a fully functional e-Procurement system to allow St. Kitts and Nevis to be on par with other Member States like Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and others.

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