OECS stakeholders meet in Barbados to discuss public procurement reform
Reforming the public procurement process within the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) could allow governments to better manage the use of scarce public funds. Such reforms also have the potential to contribute to inclusive growth by encouraging the participation of small- and medium-sized local businesses. However, many OECS countries have not yet fully implemented the necessary measures to foster reform, which has sometimes led to delays in project implementation and optimum value for money outcomes not being realised.
From June 20 to 21, 2017, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) hosted a workshop to support and advance public procurement reform in the OECS, at its headquarters in Barbados. The workshop provided a forum for representatives from OECS countries, the OECS Commission and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to review the current state of public procurement and to facilitate agreement on a unified approach to procurement reform within the OECS.
“In the OECS, public procurement makes a significant contribution to GDP activity and this, combined with the challenges presented by the fiscal constraints most states faced after the recent global economic downturn, provides an appropriate context to consider possibilities for the enhancement of public procurement. We acknowledge the progress that a number of the OECS states have made in terms of procurement reform, with a number of new procurement acts and institutions being rolled out in recent years,” said Daniel Best, Director of Projects, CDB.
He noted that the workshop represented the first time that OECS states have come together to discuss public procurement.
“Given many commonalities in circumstances and challenges we hope this will provide a forum for the sharing of knowledge and best practice, and an opportunity to consider future procurement reform prospects,” he said.
The workshop aligns with CDB’s strategic objective to further good governance in the Region. CDB’s work in public procurement has included the development of an online procurement course for Caribbean stakeholders and, in collaboration with the World Bank, support for the establishment of a Caribbean regional procurement centre, to be hosted at the University of Technology Jamaica.
The workshop was hosted in collaboration with the World Bank and attended by DFID and the Inter-American Development Bank. Participants were from Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and St. Kitts and Nevis.