Master Plan for New Government of
I was reading a speech of 15 February given by another Trinidadian. He is Victor Hart. Mr Hart is the Chairman of T&T’s Transparency International. His speech was to the
Mr Hart reminded the assembled engineers that procurement means the acquisition of goods and services. On construction projects it covers the entire process from needs assessment through the project preparation, design, budgeting, tender invitation, award of contracts, and execution of the contracts. We live in a time when coping with corruption is high on the agenda of all countries. It is therefore important that we take the opportunity to discuss transparency and accountability in procurement.
He reminded us that corruption damages our country by causing the undertaking of projects which are unnecessary, unreliable, dangerous and over-priced. This can lead to loss of life, misuse of funds, and resultant poverty, economic damage, and underdevelopment.
Corruption damages companies. It results in uncertainty and wasted tendering expenses. It increases project costs. It reduces project opportunities. It causes extortion and blackmail. It contributes to money laundering. It can result in criminal prosecutions, fines, blacklisting, reputation risk, and resultant job losses.
It damages individuals. It causes reduced morale, induces a sense of hopelessness in industry professionals. These face criminal prosecution, fines and imprisonment.
Transparency and accountability are the main antidotes for corruption. It takes our architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, building, plumbing and electrical contractors, and related professionals becoming conscious of the problem. We need them to come together to join the fight against corruption. As Mr Hart points out, the advantage for them is that they will not spend time dealing with the consequences of a playing field that is not level because of corruption in the procurement process. The result will be increased peace of mind, job satisfaction, and levels of productivity and profitability.
The building sector in
I trust that we are going to hear next of steps being taken to ensure that the procurement process for the new government building will be more transparent than it was in the airport extension project two years ago. From all reports, there are still unanswered questions connected with that project.