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Free Trade forces clarity in Dominican Government purchases

Dominican Today, Dominican Republic

Free Trade forces clarity in Dominican Government purchases

27 March 2007

SANTO DOMINGO. - It has taken great efforts to change what has been customary in the Government, but the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement between Dominican Republic, Central America and the United States (Dr-Cafta) is forcing the official agencies to be transparent.

Eric Omar Hazim, the official responsible for the enforcement of law 340-06 on Purchases, Contracts of Goods, Services, and Concessions of Government Works, affirms that the new legal order has marked a before and after in the operation of Government agencies and has forced transparency in the processes to use the taxpayers money.

He affirmed that the application of the new purchases and public contracting system represents an extraordinary advance and guarantees transparency in the operations, which is one of the principles that gave birth to the new system, which means that all processes must meet certain norms, even with minor purchases.

The Public Contracting Agency director said that among the plans is the positioning of all bidding processes on the web within the Electronic Government project.

"It’s the creation of the conditions allowing that the processes of contracts are adequate to the new times," he said, adding that his agency has worked so that the small and medium companies can be in a registry base that allows suppliers to have a national suppliers registry (RNP).

"This is obligatory. No supplier of the State can sell or offer services if they aren’t properly registered. This is a great advance and is available in the Internet in the Hacienda Ministry website. It is free and as of February it closed with approximately 4,700 enrollees."

In reference to the RNP’s utility, the official said that with this control mechanism it’s possible to known who the Government suppliers are and a documentary reference base which allows the monitoring of the operations.

For the official, the application of law 340-06 implies "deep challenges" in the institutional order, because in the measure this advances we obtain one of the goals of the legislation, the demands of Dominican society and of the international agreements,” signed by the country.

He affirmed that most Government agencies have adopted the new contracting system, in adherence to the law and in compliance with the commitments assumed with the Dr-Cafta.

In order to provide follow-up, he said, his agency forged an alliance with the Controller General’s Office to maintain internal auditors in each of the Government offices, which works as monitors as far as the application of the norms.

Hazim said that all the necessary operations documents which the purchasing units require are available, which also serves as a referential framework common to the contracting system.