400 Public Procurement Officers Trained

Jamaica Information Service (JIS)

Four hundred procurement practitioners across the public sector have been trained and certified as part of the Government’s thrust to streamline and transform the public procurement system.

This was disclosed by Senior Procurement Analyst in the Procurement and Asset Policy Unit in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Malisa McGhie, while addressing a recent JIS Think Tank.

Of the total, 300 were trained under a certification series delivered by International Procurement Institute Jamaica (INPRI); 40 received instruction in procurement law from the Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Canada; while another 60 persons were trained in E-procurement by Crown Agents and European Dynamics out of the United Kingdom (UK).

Miss McGhie said that the training, undertaken over the past year, is part of measures geared towards building a cadre of well qualified public procurement practitioners.

She said that training and certification of officers  is mandatory, and is a key component in the reform process.

The Ministry has also partnered with the College of Insurance and Professional Studies (CIPS) to strengthen the competencies of procurement practitioners islandwide.

Senior Director in the Procurement and Asset Policy Unit, Cecile Maragh, who also addressed the JIS Think Tank, said the plan is to “roll out our capacity development programme, which will be in line with international best practices, so that is why we are also partnering with CIPS, because a big component of what we procure is insurance.”

“Procurement practitioners must also be trained in what the standards are and understand how to actually execute, those types of procurement, to meet international standards,” she pointed out.

Training by CIPS is to commence by year end and in the first instance will target approximately 75 officers, who are directly responsible for procurement of insurance services.

Mrs. Maragh told JIS News that the plan is to develop a sustained programme of training that will enable a new way of thinking regarding public procurement.

“We have to make sure that public procurement is seen as a profession and not a clerical function.  It is not just something that you receive specifications and go to tender. It requires analytical thinking, it requires market research, so persons undertaking this function must understand that public procurement is in fact, a profession, and it should be treated as such,” she said.

The Ministry of Finance plans to establish a procurement faculty locally at the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) where approximately 500 procurement practitioners will be trained over the next three years.

It is expected that this programme will be implemented by the third quarter of financial year 2016/2017.