Public Procurement Specialists Attend Certification Course at MIND

The Jamaica Observer

PUBLIC procurement specialists participating in a 14-day certification course are being encouraged to use the knowledge gained to build the procurement capacity of their respective ministries, departments and agencies.

“We ask you to take full advantage of this opportunity that you have been given, recognising that you will be part of the reform of public procurement in the country,” said Cecile Maragh, senior director of the Procurement and Asset Policy Unit in the Ministry of Finance and Public Service.

Maragh was addressing the opening ceremony of the certification course Tuesday at the offices of the Management Institute of National Development’s (MIND) on Old Hope Road in St Andrew.

Twenty procurement specialists are participating in the course, which is being undertaken by the Office of the Cabinet in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The course is geared at equipping them with the tools and techniques to successfully manage the transactional, tactical and strategic aspects of public procurement, leading to increased efficiency and transparency in the process.

Acting Deputy Financial Secretary Garcia Brown said the training is a critical aspect of the Public Sector Procurement Modernisation Programme (PSMP).

Brown, who was delivering remarks on behalf of Acting Financial Secretary Everton McFarlane, said public-sector reform is critical in building confidence in how public funds are spent on goods, services and works.

He said the intensive course content is in compliance with international qualification standards and grants access to a worldwide community of procurement professionals.

“Be mindful that you hold a coveted spot, which undoubtedly other procurement officers would gladly accept, given the significant financial and organisational value of this training,” he pointed out.

Brown said the Government recognises that public procurement is an area that can drive economic growth, as it constitutes approximately 30 per cent of the annual gross domestic product (GDP) for small economies such as Jamaica.

“The onus, therefore, is on the Government to ensure that the officers responsible for procurement are adequately trained to undertake the functions to which they are charged,” he added.

The certification course was developed by UNDP, in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supplies (CIPS), which is based in the United Kingdom.

Participants will be provided with a UNDP/CIPS Certificate for each of the three levels: Introductory Certificate in Purchasing and Supply, Advanced Certificate in Public Procurement, and Diploma in Public Procurement.

Operations analyst with the UNDP, Sasha Shirley, commended the Government for the initiative, which she said will professionalise Jamaica’s procurement function. She noted that the UNDP views procurement as a critical function, as in order to fulfil its mandate and achieve its vision of empowered lives and resilient nations, significant levels of goods and services have to be procured.

She said the course is designed to create a forum for participants to apply theory and methods to cases and to foster productive knowledge-sharing.

This is one of several initiatives by the finance ministry, which has partnered with institutions to provide training to procurement specialists. All training programmes are to be fully executed this financial year.

To date, some 700 procurement practitioners have received training, with 500 being certified through a series done in partnership with the International Procurement Institute. Fifty have been trained under the Specialised Insurance Training by the College of Insurance and Professional Services, and 30 through a partnership with Osgoode Hall Law School. An additional 100 specialists have also been trained to use the e-procurement protocol.