By Halshane Burke
Chairman of the National Solid Waste Management Authority Dennis Chung has called for a reduction of the red tape surrounding the public procurement process.
Mr. Chung said the country could have suffered a health crisis due to the shortage of garbage trucks experienced over the last few months.
Calling the procurement process "cumbersome and too bureaucratic", he urged the government to "find a way to shorten the process, especially in emergency situations like this".
He suggested that the cost of a health crisis would be greater "than what we’re trying to avoid by going through the process" of procurement, so changes must be made.
Mr. Chung also pointed to red tape in the legislative process, which he said is hampering efforts to increase the fines for illegal garbage disposal.
"We issue over 300 tickets every month but when you’re talking about an average fine of $3,000, it cost you less to break the law than to dispose of your garbage properly and this has been caught up in the [legislative] bureaucracy for 10 years," he lamented.
Mr. Chung was speaking Wednesday morning at a ceremony to hand over 50 new garbage trucks and ten bikes to the NSWMA.
In response to the procurement concerns, Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr. Nigel Clarke has pledged to speed up the turnaround time for the procurement of goods and services.
He said steps have already been taken in this regard by the Public Procurement Commission, which has cut the time for which items remain in its possession from eight weeks to two.
Dr. Clarke said the government will continue to look at removing duplicated steps in the procurement process across the board.