Minister for Mobilisation Implementation and Transformation (MIT) Andy Williams is confident that the nearly one year old National Democratic Congress (NDC) government is well on track to see improvements in the implementation of projects on the island.
Speaking to THE NEW TODAY Wednesday, the senior government minister said the administration has recruited eleven Procurement officers to help with project implementation to help improve the workload at the Procurement Unit within the Ministry of Finance.
Minister Williams said that some of the new recruits will be assigned to certain specific projects that need to move quickly and others will be based at the Procurement Unit.
He was confident that Congress did a good job in vetting all the persons who responded to the application and made the selection from those considered to be best suited for the job.
“They are competent people and we will be doing training also to assist them,” he said.
The minister confirmed that all the newly hired workers came from outside of the public service.
He explained that if there is a World Bank project to come on stream then a Procurement Officer will be specifically assigned to the project in order to speed up its implementation.
Minister Williams told THE NEW TODAY: “Part of the bottleneck is when the thing goes down to the Procurement Unit, the information that is there is not adequate, it is not correct and it has to be sent back to the ministry to be corrected, sent back to the Unit again.
“If you have a competent Procurement Officer when that information is sent down to the Procurement Unit it will be proper so you know nothing is going back to the ministry to fix to come back down again into the unit. That in itself can save time,” he said.
According to Minister Williams, the intention of the Dickon Mitchell-led Congress administration at the Botanical Gardens is to alleviate problems affecting projects and to put it in a position where “we can now begin to speed up project implementation because this is what we want.”
“We have had no issues in getting projects, getting money but we have had issues in implementing the projects … and we have started and we will be looking to move forward in a speedier manner,” he said.
The implementation rate of the former Keith Mitchell-led government was put at a low 37%.
Grenada has recently lost an estimated $EC92 million in grant funding offered by the British government in 2015 partly due to the failure of the former Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) administration to put the identified projects in place to draw down on the funds that were lodged at the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
Speculation is rife that new Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has approached the Conservative government of Rishi Sunak at No.10 Downing Street in London to recommit the money to help with Grenada’s development.