Current Affairs
Factual blacklisting of companies among Chamber of Commerce recommendations

The Chamber of Commerce is proposing a reform in the way public contracts are awarded. The main recommendations consist of blacklisting of companies who contravene the law and more transparency in the handing out of direct orders.

Department of Contracts Director-General Anthony Cachia told TVM that certain measures and obligations are already in place, but there is a need for more discussions between parties in order to improve the information and certain implementation in the public contracts award sector.

Chamber of Commerce President David Xuereb stated that this reforms report was put together after consultations with members of the Chamber as well as with a working group by individuals representing economic operators in various sectors of industry.

Xuereb explained that the main items among 36 recommendations include asserting that anyone giving a service in public contracts is truly ethical and is paid up in terms of taxes and licences, failing which, they should be blacklisted.

Mr Xuereb added that another point refers to direct orders, which he said are not necessarily a bad thing as long as everyone is aware of the reason and there is transparency.

“When a contract is awarded, it is good that there is transparency in the working format of the contract, to ensure that the conditions laid down at the start of the tender are continuing, and any variations are communicated to the general public as well as to other members in this sector of the service, thus ensuring that Government funds, our taxes, are being utilised  in the most equitable manner and the consumer is being served in the best possible way and is making the best use of the funds.”

TVM spoke with the Director-General of Public Contracts Anthony Cachia, who stated that the process of public purchases is regulated through various laws which had been adopted from European Union directives. Mr Cachia explained that processes are in place regarding how offers are submitted and contracts adjudicated, and the result is public.

“Meaning that both those placing the bids through public offers, as well as the selection of the winning bid will include details of the winning bid and the amount involved.”

Mr Cachia added he was pleased to see the commitment and interest shown by the Chamber of Commerce in the purchase of public contracts. We asked the Director-General for his views about the Chamber’s recommendations for blacklisting of companies and for transparency in regard to direct orders.

“Blacklisting has long been in place, in fact we had introduced new regulations for additional strengthening when blacklisting is applied. The law already exists for one to be blacklisted. The problem is in regard to the case being presented for a contractor to be blacklisted, and I believe this is where there is a need for discussions with the Chamber regarding measures which can be taken for blacklisting. It is the same in the case of direct orders, meaning reporting and obligations are already in place for one to report on direct orders being given out, and it is the same as stated in the report, being that there is a need for more discussion between the parties to further strengthen the need for information on direct orders.”

Anthony Cachia added that there had been various occasions in the past when Chamber of Commerce proposals had been implemented. Mr Cachia indicated his intention to invite the Chamber to meet and discuss their recommendations.

See also:

Chamber of Commerce with advice on the manner in which public contracts are awarded