The Public Procurement Bill 2022 and the Finance Management Bill 2023 were debated in the senate this week.

Leading debate in the senate was Minister of Economic Affairs, Sen. Hon. Michael Halkitis. He said, “we have acquired and brought on stream the Go Bonfire platform, a best in class procurement platform that is being implemented in the public sector and at the Public Hospitals Authority. And since the launch of the program I’m advised in November 2022 we have recorded 1490 vendor registrations, 299 posted opportunities and they have identified $2.6 million in estimated savings from the use of the platform. We expect these numbers of grow.”

Halkitis explained, “what is specifically spelt out is that within a contract you will be able to say that a business owned by a family islander, a woman or a young person or small and medium sized business they will be allowed a margin so another bidder would have to beat them by a certain margin that will be spelled out in the document. So if you say okay by virtue of a business being in the family island expenses are higher so they are not quite able to match the price of a business in New Providence, you can say okay well once they are within 25%, 20% or whatever figure of that business’ price you are still able to grant the contract to that business.”

The Minister said all the financial thresholds in the existing act have been revised to provide greater flexibility and transparency.