Nonprofit Sembrando Sentido unveils gov’t procurement oversight platform
Nonprofit organization Sembrando Sentido launched the “Contratos en Ley” online platform that monitors and evaluates the public procurement processes in Puerto Rico.
The organization seeks to prevent the “misuse of hundreds of millions of dollars of public funds due to corruption and inefficiency in the hiring processes,” it said in a press release.
ContratosEnLey.org is the first tool in Puerto Rico that centralizes, integrates and facilitates the search of millions of data on public contracts and contractors in a single platform. The nonprofit seeks to provides “transparency with claws to monitor government contracting processes,” said Issel Masses, executive director of Sembrando Sentido.
“Sembrando Sentido decided to focus on public procurement because that’s where the highest risk of corruption is. According to the global parameters of loss of funds due to corruption, in Puerto Rico we could be losing between $740 million and $3.1 billion annually because of deficiencies in public procurement,” Masses said.
Until now, overseeing contracting has been a “huge challenge” given that the government of Puerto Rico has more than 30 websites with information on contracts and contractors, “whose data tends to be poor in quality, incomplete, not integrated, and in unfriendly formats for analysis,” she said.
The Contratos en Ley platform has several tools available for citizens to learn about and analyze government contracts, including a search engine and an evaluator.
“It’s important to remember that all government purchases and contracting must have the purpose of ensuring and strengthening the services that the government offers to citizens,” said Juan José Jiménez, public policy analyst of Sembrando Sentido.
“The funds for public contracts represent health, education, family support, road repair services, among many others,” he said.