Contractors in the British Virgin Islands will soon benefit from a procurement regime tailor-made for times of emergency such as natural disasters, catastrophic events, and health crises such as COVID-19.
During a live public broadcast on Sunday, Premier Andrew Fahie said his administration has been working on the policy framework for the past few weeks.
He explained that it would allow local contractors and service providers the chance to participate at a higher level while simultaneously adhering to the principles of international best practice and assuring quality, value for money, transparency, and accountability.
“Professionals in these fields will testify to some of the challenges our local contractor’s face, problems that lock them out from being even considered for projects that they are capable of delivering. Even the petty contract system has been fraught with challenges, and the situation is made even worse because of the precautionary measures that became necessary due to COVID-19.”
The Premier said the policy framework is now complete and it is being discussed with international funding agencies whose approval will be needed to amened certain financing conditions.
“The feedback has been positive, and your government is feverishly working with the Attorney General’s Office to get the legislative changes, that may be necessary, submitted. After which, approval by both the Cabinet and the House of Assembly will be sought. This process will open many doors of opportunities for all our contractors in the BVI amidst COVID-19 era. This is a government working for its people. This is a Government that cares,” Fahie said.
Dissection of major projects
Fahie said one of the areas that will be changed is the dissection of large projects.
“One important feature of the new emergency procurement policy is that it will allow for, in some cases, the subdivision of larger projects into smaller packages. In this way, more local construction companies – including our smaller contractors – would be able to share in the opportunities that are created by your government to stimulate our economy through construction, among other areas.”
He said one such project that will be sub-divided would be the East End-Long Look Sewerage Project.
“Our contractors should begin preparing themselves and their workers immediately. Get yourselves ready, especially with all your needed paperwork because once all the legal steps are finished with this new policy, we want to hit the ground running, and with momentum,” Premier Fahie stated.
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