More opportunities for MSMEs

The full roll-out of the Orders for Special and Differential Treatment Measures (Set Asides) is expected to commence in the third quarter of the upcoming fiscal year.

This was announced by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, as he opened the 2020/21 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 10.

Orders for Special and Differential Treatment Measures and Domestic Margins of Preference were passed in November 2019.

These measures have paved the way for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and Jamaican suppliers to secure government contracts.

Dr Nigel Clarke, Minister of Finance

Dr Clarke said key among the reforms is the Government’s continued progress towards the inclusive participation of Jamaican suppliers in the government procurement process.

“Since the passage of these orders, pilot entities, in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries; the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service; and the Trade Board, have been working to refine the policies and the operational guidelines to ensure that all procuring entities can successfully operationalise the law and that the MSMEs and Jamaican suppliers generally can benefit,” the Minister said.

This, he explained, is part of measures by the Government to ensure that Jamaica’s public procurement system is modernised and optimised to deliver efficient and effective government contracting.

“The new public procurement legislation entered into force on April 1, 2019 and the regulations governing the Public Procurement Commission were passed in the second quarter of the 2019/20 Financial Year, paving the way for the full operations of the Public Procurement Commission. As the Regime is operationalised, the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service has been receiving valuable feedback from procurement practitioners, suppliers and other interested procurement actors, and continues to make the necessary improvements,” the Minister said.

Procurement manual

Additionally, a new public procurement practitioner’s manual is to be issued by the second quarter of the fiscal year 2020/21.

This manual will assist practitioners and other involved parties to navigate the new regime making prudent decisions in Jamaica’s interest.

Simplified standard documents that are used in the solicitation stage of procurement are to be issued to procuring entities.

“We are aligning our policies on procurement in recognition that procurement ought not to be an oppressive bureaucratic function. The way in which the Government organises its procurement function has an impact on economic activity,” Dr Clarke said.