Pruaitch clears air on awarding of contracts

National, Normal

Treasurer and Finance Minister Patrick Pruaitch has defended the Government’s procurement process in PNG, describing it as one of the best in the Pacific region.
He said the best thing about it was that Members of Parliament did not get involved.
He said this in a statement to Parliament last Friday amid growing concern about the involvement of MPs and ministers in the awarding of contracts worth millions of kina.
Innuendos of corruption and kickbacks have accompanied finger-pointing among politicians themselves about flouting of processes in awarding contracts.
Mr Pruaitch described these as confusion and misconception about the process and procedures in the procurement of Government goods, services and works.
“In this whole Government procurement process, Government ministers and Members of Parliament have no say or play a role in deciding who wins contracts for the provision of goods and services and works.
“A perception has been created whereby some leaders and members of the public mistakenly think we, Government ministers and parliamentarians, make these decisions individually and outside of established legal processes and procedures,” he said.
“Our procurement system demonstrates and upholds high standards and integrity; merits which are now being recognised and respected internationally.
“As minister whose responsibilities cover the supply and tenders boards, I am proud that we in PNG have one of the best procurement systems in the Pacific region.
“As a testimony to this high standard, the CSTB has just been conferred the leadership award by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Australia (CIPSA) under the 2009 procurement professional awards programme,” he said.
Mr Pruaitch said before a contract was awarded by the State for the provision of goods and services and works, certain important processes and procedures, contained in the Public Finances (Management) Act (PFMA), must be followed and complied with.
He said each of these supply and tenders board’s contract approval limits were set at CSTB – K10 million; provincial boards – K3 million; all other boards – K1 million; and all contracts valued at more than K10 million must go before the National Executive Council for deliberation and decision.
He said section 47 of the PFMA and its related financial instruction required that an authority to pre-commit (APC) must be obtained for amounts of K300,000 and over.