The General Services Administration (ASG) will begin today a new stage of governance and administration of public funds after the approval of the Agency’s Procurement Regulations by the Fiscal Supervision Board (JSF). This dictates the new norms and processes for government purchases and auctions in a centralized and transparent manner and addresses the failures faced in the past in government processes for the acquisition of goods.
According to Karla Mercado Rivera, Administrator of ASG and Chief Procurement Officer of the government, with the approval of Law 73-2019 and the certification of the Fiscal Plan created by the legislature, the roles of the agency were reconceptualized. As a result, ASG assumed new responsibilities and powers to carry out, govern, and oversee all purchases of the Government of Puerto Rico.
Law 73-2019, approved on July 19, 2019, ordered the ASG, among other things, to enact a single regulation for purchases and auctions in order to standardize the procurement and bidding process in the Port Government. Rich.
“This is not just another regulation. It is the instrument that will allow us to generate significant savings and greater efficiency for the treasury. Because transparency translates into savings and trust in all sectors. We want to give back to the citizens their trust in their government. In this way, we are moving towards complying with the plan entrusted to us by the Board, when it ordered the creation of the new agency model, “said Mercado Rivera.
She explained that the process of developing the new regulation, which took months to reach a consensus, had the participation of representatives of different industries such as the Industrial Association, the United Center for Retailers (CUD) and the Contractors Association, among others. .
“Prior to approval, we held public hearings where the private sector was guaranteed the participation and inclusion of ideas and concerns about the regulations and the new processes, which we will have at the ASG. This was the first step to guarantee transparency and equal opportunities for all sectors and suppliers of government goods and services ”, explained the Principal Government Purchasing Officer and Administrator of ASG.
Mercado added that since the centralization of purchases is part of the fiscal plan, the Board and the new administration formed ASG a team of professionals who jointly reviewed each and every aspect of the regulation through an extensive period of brainstorming. “At the end of the process, the Board endorsed the regulations. In addition, it incorporated additional responsibilities to the agency, contemplated in the approved fiscal plan, “said the official.
While the Fiscal Oversight Board He said that the regulation seeks to “substantially improve” the practices of the Government of Puerto Rico in the acquisition of goods and services, as well as to prevent the irregularities and inefficiencies that have plagued the country’s contracting system.
“This regulation is a great step forward for Puerto Rico. The regulation will allow Puerto Rico to acquire goods and services efficiently and effectively at the best possible prices. The competitive bidding of goods and services, transparent contracting and defined controls are the guiding principle for the proper functioning of the procurement process, and that is what this new regulation allows ”, said the executive director of the Supervisory Board, Natalie Jaresko.
The Oversight Board’s review of the regulation proposed by ASG led to substantial changes:
- Minimizes what qualifies as exceptional acquisition, allowing direct purchases of goods and services outside of normal acquisition processes.
- It establishes a defined process for exceptional purchases, including purchases during emergencies.
- It requires a new bidding process when no offers or proposals were received in the process of acquiring ordinary contracts for goods and services.
- Open book tenders (also known as cost-plus contracts) to require suppliers to include all their costs, margins, and services to aid in transparent decision-making
- Publication of all purchase orders, in addition to all contracts, following the same procedure.