NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Government, through the Ministry of Finance, officially launched the GoBonfire eProcurement Platform through which goods and services for all government and quasi-government will be sourced, with the objective of providing a higher level of accountability.
This milestone in governance was launched by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis at Margaritaville Beach Resort, Compass Rose, Ballroom on Monday, October 3, 2022.
“I am very pleased to be here to launch GoBonfire, the eProcurement platform through which goods and services for all government and quasi-government will be sourced,” the prime minister said.
The new platform would also allow the Government to fulfill its commitment to transparency and ease of access to procurement opportunities, as required under the Public Procurement Act, 2021.
The platform, designed and built by GoBonfire, expands on the legacy procurement platform and enables vendors to, among other things: search procurement opportunities across all Government agencies; download and have instant access to all Government procurement opportunities; receive procurement opportunity notices that would interest the vendor.
“Procurement is the basis of democracy, nation building, and strong, well-functioning economies; and it is often said that perception is reality,” said the prime minister. “This is because an impression of something defines how it is seen, regardless of the truth.”
He noted that his government’s Blueprint for Change “includes our Economic Plan to bring relief and dignity to Bahamians by creating more dynamic and inclusive solutions to kick-start the economy.”
The prime minister shared that in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of Transparency International for 2021, The Bahamas ranked 30th out of 183 countries with a score of 64 out of 100. And, particularly, firms in the United States of America identified corruption as an obstacle to the foreign direct investment (FDI) approvals process, and reported perceived corruption in government procurement.
“That is why we committed to fiscal consolidation and the modernisation of infrastructure to justify and procure public goods and services in an efficient, transparent, and accountable manner,” he said. “This New Day Government is solidly resolved in its ideals of good governance, integrity, and accountability. A new Public Procurement Bill will soon be publicised for consultation.”
Observing that GoBonfire is a necessary change, the prime minister also said that the retiring platform was launched in 2005, well before the passage of the Public Procurement Act, 2021. Unfortunately, its age limited its function.
“Our Blueprint for Change speaks directly to digital transformation and, specifically, the Government Procurement Platform. GoBonfire aligns with our Ease-of-Doing-Business approach to rescue the economy. From anywhere, a business entity can submit proposals for procurement opportunities with government and quasi-government agencies,” the prime minister said.
For fiscal year 2022/2023, approximately $795 million has been allocated for recurrent and capital expenditure. And according to the prime minister, that represents vast procurement opportunities for goods and services, and for construction services.
“The focal activities of the GoBonfire eProcurement Platform embrace our governance ideals and provide the requisite solution to facilitate our objective,” the prime minister said.
He added, “From GoBonfire, we will assist Government by enhancing our ability to gather accurate, real-time data to inform decision-making, to ensure that obligations (including payments) are being met on time, and to monitor the life cycle of the project.”
The prime minister explained that the fallout from Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic left many suppliers struggling to meet their business obligations because of lockdowns and business uncertainty.
He noted the merits of competitive procurement processes and added, legislation would ensure that small businesses, Family Island vendors, and women are afforded access to and opportunities for participation in the economy
He also committed to allocating five percent of all government procurement contracts to businesses owned by young Bahamians.
Small businesses, Family Island businesses, businesses owned by women, and businesses owned by young Bahamians will be monitored as key performance indicators (KPIs) for this Administration.
“However, for the sake of clarity, let me say this. Nobody should be deprived of opportunities to contribute to national development through procurement,” the prime minister said.