Questions arise over legitimacy of Procurement Policy Board

Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer gestures as he speaks during a meeting with the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee on August 27, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The Procurement Policy Board was established before making the necessary revisions to Public Finance Regulation, casting doubt over the legitimacy of the Board.

The seven-member Procurement Policy Board was established by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on February 23, following a request by the Finance Ministry on January 29.

The Board is composed of Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer – the chairperson, as well as State Minister for Finance Ahmed Shareef, Ajwad Mustafa from Environment Ministry, Shuhad Ibrahim from Economic Ministry, Shifaz Ali from Planning Ministry, Ibrahim Naeem from the Attorney General's Office, and Dr. Mohamed Adil from the private sector.

However, there was no mention of the Procurement Policy Board in the Public Finance Regulation when the Board was first established. The Public Finance Regulation was revised to declare the Board’s mandate, number of members, and method of appointment in July, five months after the Board was established.

With the revisions, Article 10.06 of Public Finance Regulation now states that the authority to improve the procurement system and issue procurement policies vests with the Procurement Policy Board, and that the decisions of the Board will be implemented in accordance with the Finance Minister’s instructions and in line with  the administrative framework on financial institutions.

It also states that the Board will be composed of seven members, and that they will be appointed by the President.

The Procurement Policy Board’s Standard Operating Procedure was published on the Government Gazette on September 7.

Some legal experts now argue the Board was established in violation of the Public Finance Regulation, as it made no mention of such a board when it was first established.

One legal expert who spoke to Sun noted that laws and regulations cannot be applied retrospectively. He said that previous decisions by the Board cannot be legally enforced, and that the Board must therefore be re-established to be legitimate.