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After prolonged protest by this newspaper and others about the withholding of project specifications for massive infrastructure and other large-scale procurement,China Jerseys NFL Wholesale, the government has finally decided to free up this information.In a letter to the press, Walter Willis,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, Technical Advisor to Minister of Transport/Hydraulics, and Chairman of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority, personally obligated himself to ensuring that the media has access to project specifications.This comes two weeks after Dr Roger Luncheon, the government’s chief spokesman, said that the members of the press seeking specifications for projects advertised by the government and inviting bids and tenders, should be bought,Wholesale NFL Jerseys, as is done by bidders.“Buying the bid document is a necessary aspect of the tendering process,” Dr Luncheon stressed. He added that he believes that those who might not want to tender but still want the specifications would spend some money to acquire the documents.But in a letter to the press, Willis sought to retract that comment and to cover over criticisms about the withholding of information, suggesting that there was a perception that there was an insufficiency of details provided by the various executing agencies of the government in the procurement of works, goods and services.Willis said that he was availing himself to help the media secure project specifications “in an effort to support the government’s policy of transparency.”According to Willis, the standard format of the Invitation for Bids (IFB) approved by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board clearly states in Section (3) (Clause 3 or Item 3) that “interested eligible Bidders may obtain further information from (whatever agency) and inspect the Bidding Documents at first address given below during working hours Monday to Friday.”Willis said this is the same way that the media could gain access to information they may require on the various projects of their specific interest.He said the bidding documents provide the scope of works along with: instructions to bidders (standard); bidding data sheet (project specific); eligible countries (where applicable for donor funded projects); forms of bid,NFL Jerseys Cheap, qualification information, letter of acceptance and agreement; general conditions of contract (standard); special conditions of contract (project specific); specifications and performance requirement (standard/project specific); drawings (project specific); Bill of Quantities; security forms; form of bid security; performance bank guarantee; and bank guarantee for advance payment.Dr Luncheon had asserted that the possibility that the specifications would be provided free of cost would constitute a fatal blow for the tender board in recovering from the bidders the cost of reproducing the document.He stated that if it were to be provided free to someone else, “how could I ask bidders to pay for it…whether you tender or not,NFL Jerseys Wholesale, once you want the document you have got to buy it.”The Head of the Presidential Secretariat hinted that even with Access to Information legislation in place the information will not be provided free of cost.That Bill,Jerseys NFL China, he said, is currently in its draft form at the Attorney General’s Chambers and will be sent to a Special Select Committee when tabled in Parliament so that stakeholders can have an input. He insisted that the Bill will be tabled and enacted in 2011.The very secretive way in which the specifications of government contracts are made available has been described as a way to facilitate corruption according to some Members of Parliament and key figures in society.At present, the only persons privy to the information are those that buy the bid documents, and several efforts by this newspaper to obtain those specifications from contractors who have purchased those documents have proved futile.Some time ago President Bharrat Jagdeo had told a Kaieteur News reporter that this newspaper can buy the bid document if it wants the information, and can even tender for projects.Member of Parliament Everall Franklin, whilst conceding that it is necessary for the contractors who bid for the contracts to purchase the documents given the printing and other costs attached to their preparation, said that the information should be made available online for the average person to access.He had noted that it is imperative for the nation to be au fait with the specifications of what a contractor is undertaking so that they can be able to properly monitor and ensure value for money.Leader of the Alliance For Change, Raphael Trotman, had said that for the information to be so difficult to obtain is an insult to the people of the nation. He questioned why it should be so difficult to access basic information, pointing to the urgent need for the Freedom of Information legislation.Trotman opined that such secretive dealings facilitate corruption to the highest level and has to be rooted out.
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