Senior technical officers of all projects funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) met during an IDB Projects Workshop to discuss and share knowledge on effective measures to achieve the objectives of each project. The workshop took place at Melia Nassau Beach resort, September 19, 2018. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest said at the workshop that it is worth noting that subsequent to becoming a member of IDB, in 1973, the total amount of loans and guarantees that The Bahamas received from the Bank is approximately, $925,000,000. DPM Turnquest explained that these investment loans encompass various sectors, for example — Transport, Energy and Water, Aviation, the Environment, and Public Policy. He stated: “As the Bank is considered an important development partner in The Bahamas, I have no doubt that the relationship between the Government of The Bahamas and the Bank will continue to be fruitful in addressing the current and future development challenges of the country.”
The DPM affirmed the relevance of each of the subject matters being discussed at the workshop, namely: a commitment to breaking silos to achieve results, lessons from experience when dealing with IDB projects, procurement, and financial management and reporting. He said in going forward, project managers and focal stakeholders must be mindful of past experiences, some of which were positive, while others were negative and may have contributed to projects incurring cost overruns, extending beyond deadlines, or not achieving key performance indicators. He continued, “During the execution of each project we must foster an approach, where stakeholders, among other things, develop a penchant to minimize bottlenecks in favor of achieving targets in prescribed timeframes.” DPM Turnquest said considering the need to promote transparency, information sharing, and standards, the common thread in every project should be knowledge sharing and embracing best practices. Undoubtedly, he added, projects will differ in scope and to some degree, the required skill sets but, nevertheless, the underlying processes in achieving the goals of projects remain the same. And with the abundance of technology on project management, the success stories and failures must be communicated to the body of project stakeholders. “Working in a vacuum will not achieve, in a comprehensive manner, desired results, especially when considering most IDB assignments are inextricably linked.”
He highlighted the workshop’s topic on procurement, saying that it is an issue this current government administration regards as salient. “With the development of a Department of Public Procurement and new procurement legislation to govern the purchasing of goods and services in the entire public service, the government intends to transform the culture of procurement to make it more fair, transparent and efficient.” He said the current legislation is insufficient when compared to international standards, particularly as it relates to addressing breaches in procurement procedures. “In short order, a new Procurement Bill will be tabled in Parliament and I can assure you that Procurement in the Public Service will be comparable to international best practices.” He said greater emphasis will be placed on transparency, as reporting on procurement activities will be publicized and the Chief Accounting Officer or the Permanent Secretary in every procuring entity, under the proposed procurement framework, will assume greater responsibility to ensure that the rules governing procurement activities are adhered to.
DPM Turnquest noted, “I have no doubt that in a new procurement environment, where there is constant training in procurement practices, and purchasing advanced technology to assist all officers assigned to procurement units — there will be cost savings arising from the reduction in the application of corrupt and abusive procurement practices.” He told Project Managers and Stakeholders with direct involvement in the execution of IDB assignments to undertake every effort to ensure that projects within their sphere of responsibility or connected to their assignment are aligned with achieving objectives in a timely manner, as failures in project management can be costly.