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23 January 2021
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object to the new imposition on public procurement as evidence in all public
tenders issued by the Contract Committee over the last several weeks, director
general Vince Farrugia said.
objections are based on two issues. Public procurement of goods and services
should aim at the procurement of most optimal quality of goods and services at
the best available, competitive prices. "This is the role of the National
Public Procurement Agency (the Contracts Committee). It is not the role of the
Public Procurement to be Czar for social justice enforcement, whether this
refers to employment conditions, environmental issues, health and safety and
any other enforcement whatsoever."
There are other appropriately established public institutions directly
responsible for the enforcement of laws enforcing labour, health, safety,
environment, standard, and any other condition. The National Public Procurement
Agency should not be subjected to the inspectorate of other public sector
institution because of any clauses imposed on Public Procurement documents.
Director of Employment Relations, for example, has enough legislation and
resources to ensure that all employers, and not just government contractors,
abide by Malta's high quality labour protection laws. There is nothing that
precludes the Director for Labour to act against any employer who has been
found to be in abuse of labour laws. But the Director for Labour should not
expect the National Public Procurement Agency to do his work for him. The
director for labour and his labour inspectorate should never be given power
over the execution of contracts worth millions if not tens or hundreds of
millions euros. When the National Public Procurement Agency "subcontracts" its
own enforcement powers to other institutions it allows public procurement to
become wide open for abuse, corruption and incompetence," Mr Farrugia said.
Procurement should be accessible to all who can compete. This is how the
private sector procurement is done and Public Procurement should follow the
efficiency of the Private Sector. There are firms who are competent
administratively and financially to bid for public contracts. These are
specialist contractors who are not necessarily big. There are other firms,
however, who prefer to specialize in supply of services and to operate as
sub-contractors to the former. It is fallacious for anyone to state that
contractors are more efficient and that they can provide a more cost effective
higher quality service if all specialists and workers are directly employed by
the Tendering Contractors. On the contrary there is ample evidence to prove
that most suppliers of specialize services, most times offer higher quality at
lesser cost and that they can attract and incentivize better quality specialist
and service providers than contractors with directly employed individual. It is
inconceivable that a national public procurement agency is denied the services
of miscellaneous specialists who prefer to work as sub-contractors."
cannot and should not have Public Procurement that denies sub-contractors. It
is bad for public procurement. It is inefficient and opens wide the opportunity
for abuse. It loads the National Public Procurement Agency with unnecessary
bureaucracy. But most of all it is bad for small businesses. It represents the
greatest blow suffered by small business ever."
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