[WATCH] Chamber calls for public procurement blacklisting of companies that break the law

The Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry releases document with proposals for reforming the public procurement process, including better regulation of direct orders

Chamber of Commerce President David Xuereb (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Chamber of Commerce President David Xuereb (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

Non-compliant operators should be blacklisted from public procurement, the Chamber of Commerce is proposing in a newly released document.

The proposal is one of 36 recommendations made in the report Public Procurement Reform that was published today.

The proposals also call for better regulation of direct orders awarded by government agencies.

Chamber President David Xuereb said the document builds on the report published last year on ethical business.

“The document serves as valuable guidance for the necessary reforms that are needed in order to ensure that economic operators are on a level playing field when tendering for government purchasing opportunities,” Xuereb said.

Clement Mifsud-Bonnici, who was appointed as technical advisor on the report, emphasised the need for a stronger culture of compliance, and in turn the blacklisting of any economic operators that have breached the law.

"Compliance with the law comes at a cost. It's not right that certain economic operators remain compliant while others don't," he said.

While the Chamber highlighted that direct orders can be a useful tool in public procurement, it recommended that any directly-awarded public contracts should be justified and published through a contract register. They should also be subject to public scrutiny with interested parties given the opportunity to challenge them.

The Chamber recommended that the monitoring of public contracts should be a burden shared between the public and private sector, with any variations to the tender published in a register. 

The document has since been presented to Prime Minister Robert Abela, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana. 

Xuereb said the Chamber will be meeting with every contracting authority to clarify the proposals put forward in the report.