Procurement lapses: Give info on actions taken

Procurement policies should be reviewed and tightened to ensure the responsible use of public funds, and the Auditor-General should inform the public on what have been done to address lapses.

SINGAPORE - The Auditor-General's latest annual report highlights the failure of certain public bodies to follow procurement policies, leading to some companies potentially enjoying an unfair advantage in tendering for public sector contracts ("Auditor-General flags procurement lapses"; last Thursday).

These lapses are nothing new. But considering that millions of dollars are involved, the Auditor-General should - apart from flagging such lapses - indicate what preventive measures have been taken.

If such lapses arise from oversights by senior officers who fail to follow protocols, then they should be held accountable and investigated.

In the past few years, reports of such lapses have been made, but there appears to be no follow-up on what actions have been taken. The respective ministries should let the public know what they have done to improve the situation and reveal if any disciplinary action has been taken against errant officers.

The procurement process is not perfect, as human error does occur, but such lapses must be minimised as public funds are involved.

- Arthur Lim

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