Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Contractors hoping to participate in infrastructural projects under the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) $15.7M loan funds may have to enter a competitive bid process, even for contracts under $100,000 which are considered petty contracts by local financial standards.
At the last sitting of the House of Assembly, Hon. Julian Fraser, Third District Representative asked the Communications and Works Minister, Hon. Mark Vanterpool, what is their [CDB] required minimum dollar value for a contract, what is their requirement for awarding a contract and what are their procurement requirements for materials.
In response, Minister Vanterpool stated that as far as he understands, there is no minimum dollar value for a contract under the CDB loan agreement and the loan agreement refers to procurement packages, which are related to the budgeted cost of each listed project.
He said the awarding of contracts or what is referred to as procurement packages will be the procurement packages that will be funded under the loan agreement will go through a formal tender process where qualified local contractors will have the opportunity to submit a bid for each Procurement Package.
The Minister further explained that each bid will be evaluated under the customary procedures set out by the Finance Management Act and CDB´s requirement in the process is that government submit the results of the tender for each Procurement Package.
In relation to what are their procurement requirements for materials, Minister Vanterpool said CDB's requirement for procuring materials is that the source of the materials must be from a country that is a member of the bank.
Third District Representative Hon. Fraser then stated that there are some projects in the package that are in the $35-40,000 range which are referred to as petty contracts locally.
"Are you saying that you are not aware that CDB will not entertain contracts that are under a certain dollar value," Hon. Fraser asked the Minister.
Hon. Vanterpool in response stated, "I will have to check but I am fairly certain that CDB wants all contracts bid. The arrangements that we have where contracts under a $100,000 are considered petty contracts locally and don´t require bidding, I am not sure that CDB will allow that, that they are not put up for bid. However, I can check and get back to the Member specifically."
The Board of Directors of the CDB approved a loan to the Government of the BVI equivalent to USD 15.67 million for a natural disaster management project. The project is designed to assist the BVI in rehabilitating infrastructure damaged by Tropical Storm Otto, while reducing risks associated with heavy rainfall.
According to the bank, this assistance will have three main components - rehabilitating and reconstructing road and drainage infrastructure to internationally acceptable standards; providing institutional strengthening by conducting a drainage assessment for storm-water flood risk reduction in the Road Town catchment area; and providing assistance for drafting regulations pursuant to the Physical Planning Act, 2004.
On May 18, Premier Hon. Orlando Smith announced that the United Kingdom (UK) granted approval for the BVI Government to go ahead and accept the $15.7 million CDB loan for the rehabilitation of roads and drainage structures across the Territory. The approval came May 14 via a letter from the former UK Minister for Overseas Territories, Henry Bellingham, MP.
Premier Smith had said that the approval is a testimony to the new mature relationship between the BVI Government and the United Kingdom. The loan, which was approved by the CDB last year following an application from then Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government, was held up by the United Kingdom Government.
Premier Smith has stated that the delay was due to concerns about the BVI breaching the borrowing guidelines between the BVI and the United Kingdom.