The National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) on Thursday hosted a training workshop for possible tender evaluators. Speaking at the Police Officers Training Complex in Georgetown, Chairman of the Procurement Board, Berkley Wickham, introduced potential evaluators to the guiding principles of public procurement, where he noted the importance of integrity and transparency.Public procurement is a process wherein Government identifies the needs and problems regarding acquisition of goods and services, and engages potential suppliers after which contracts are awarded.A section of the potential evaluators on ThursdayThe potential evaluators were told that public procurement accounts for nearly 30 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), where the noted weakness of the private sector was highlighted.“Public procurement in Guyana has been estimated in the order of 20-30% of GDP. In Guyana, we do have a very weak private sector, so Government has had to act as the primary economic driver of the economy,” the Chairman asserted.The prospective evaluators heard that public procurement could play a positive role in Social Cohesion, and can bring about improvement in social standards, such as living and working conditions. Wickham stressed that Government does not award contracts to suppliers that exploit labour or engage in child labour.It was further explained that, under the guiding principles, there must be fair and equitable treatment of all suppliers and contractors; while transparency, integrity and public confidence in the procurement process must be promoted. The principles that govern evaluating tenders include: non-discrimination, equal treatment, transparency and confidentiality.Currently, evaluators who assess bids for contracts are paid only G$3000 per evaluation, but Chairman Wickam noted that this figure is likely to increase in the near future. He added that although 80 persons responded to the ads seeking evaluators, only half attended the workshop due to Thursday’s heavy downpours.