Jamaica News: The House of Representatives has approved the National Contracts Commission (Validation and Indemnity) Act, 2019.
The Bill seeks to validate and confirm all acts done in good faith by the National Contracts Commission in the performance of its functions pursuant to the mandate granted to the Commission under the Contractor General Act in the registration and classification of perspective contractors.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, who piloted the legislation during Tuesday’s (April 30) sitting of the Lower House, said it seeks to validate those acts done over a 20-year period beginning February 11, 1999 and ending on April 1, 2019.
He said the National Contracts Commission was established pursuant to the Contractor General Act by way of an amendment to the Act in January 1999.
“The Contractor General Act was substantially repealed by the Integrity Commissions Act of 2017, but that section of the Contractor General Act, which related to the National Contracts Commission, remained and was renamed the National Contracts Commission Interim Provisions Act,” he noted.
Dr. Clarke pointed out that under the Contractor General Act, the Commission was charged with the responsibility of carrying out certain functions in order to give effect to the principal objects of the Commission, namely the provision of efficiency in the process of award and implementation of government contracts and ensuring transparency and equity.
He said the functions of the Commission included, among other things, registering and classifying such contractors according to the level and scope of the government contracts to which their registration applied.
“The Contractor General Act also provided that fees might be charged for services rendered by the Commission pursuant to the Act and stipulated that the charging of such fees was subject to the approval of Cabinet,” Dr. Clarke noted.
He said that in order to facilitate the manner and form in which these functions were to be carried out, the Portfolio Minister was empowered, under the Act, to make regulations for any matter required by the Act.
“Such regulations were not made and the Commission, in an effort to meet its mandate, began to register and classify prospective contractors and to charge or collect fees for these activities albeit in the absence of statutory authority. It is for this reason that we now seek to confirm and validate the acts undertaken by the National Contracts Commission,” he noted.
Dr. Clarke said with the termination of the existence of the National Contracts Commission as of April 1, 2019, a new Public Procurement Commission has been established pursuant to the Public Procurement Act 2015, which was brought into force on April 1, 2019.
Source: JIS News