Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis contributed to debate of the Public Procurement Bill in the House of Assembly on Wednesday.

Concerning the unequal granting of contracts under the current legislation Mr. Davis told Parliamentarians, “the processes put in place in which large vendors are able to dominate the competition, for example, in the procurement of food one vendor by virtue of its size and corporate relations dominated the procurement of food on behalf of the government. Under the current act this dominance in allowed. In fact it is an outcome that the act as written intentionally brings about. However, common sense would tell you that the government nor the Bahamian people want to exist in a reality where only the largest, richest companies with the most resources get every contract. We can all agree that the role of government should be to broaden opportunities for a diverse range of Bahamians. Our small and medium sized businesses deserve opportunities too. The bill before us today allows for that possibility.”

Davis also said that the bill reflects his administration’s commitment to transparency and accountability. “We have revised all financial thresholds for greater flexibility, transparency and efficiency to facilitate faster procurement agreements and completion of contracts. Contracts below a certain threshold will now automatically be reserved for national bidders. Special permission will have to be granted for these procurement processes to allow for international bidding. We will introduce preferences for micro, small and medium sized enterprises. We are going to introduce preferences for women owned businesses. We are going to introduce preferences for family island businesses and youth owned businesses. These are high priority areas we are targeting as a government to diversify opportunity in The Bahamas.”