Speaking on TVAM this morning, Malta Chamber President Perit David Xuereb said that transparency is key to make sure that trust is strengthened and reinforced in the public procurement process, at all its stages.
The Malta Chamber published a document with 36 recommendations for a public procurement reform last week, following a thorough consultation process with its members.
While acknowledging the complexity of the procurement process, Perit Xuereb said that Government may need to equip itself with further expertise when designing and publishing public tenders. “Sometimes the process does not inspire the trust it deserves, and this is not beneficial to any part of it. Government attracts criticism, the business community who would otherwise be interested in tendering loses faith in the process, and ultimately the customer, the tax payer is short-changed as they would not get the best service or product possible” said Perit Xuereb.
“This needs to be addressed, and our document proposes concrete and measurable ways of how to do this, including a contract register to ensure transparency of execution to the satisfaction of all”.
Referring to the proposal to blacklist businesses who would not be in line with the law, Perit Xuereb said that this meant to provide a level-playing field for all operators in a fair competition. “It is not fair that while most business operators go through great lengths to have all their fiscal obligations, licences and permits in order, they would be treated the same as others who may not” said Perit Xuereb. “Discipline is key here, and we believe that a level playing field is indispensable for a fair and equitable public procurement process”.
Perit Xuereb also spoke about how The Malta Chamber is not against direct Orders in principle, however, more transparency and a clear justification needs to accompany each.
“This is not always the case, and sometimes businesses and the public only learn about a direct order, once this is either already awarded or even when the project has already been completed. This only contributes to further doubt in the whole system, which needs to be cleared for the benefit of all. Direct orders should be linked to standards known to be higher” Perit Xuereb concluded.