The Ministry of Finance has defended its decision to reverse the annulment of the previous government’s Unsolicited Proposals Policy (USP Policy), explaining that the move was intended to incorporate the provisions within the Public Finance Regulations.

Speaking to a local media outlet, Minister of State for Finance Hussain Shaam Adam justified the abrupt policy shift, describing it as a measure to streamline public financing mechanisms.

He elaborated that the amended Public Finance Regulations, gazetted in September 2023, mandate all policies to align with these regulations. Consequently, the USP policy had to be repealed to facilitate its integration into the Public Finance Regulations.

Minister Adam further highlighted that a regulation carries more legal weight than a policy. By identifying the limitations of the USP and incorporating its enhanced form into the Public Finance Regulations, a more robust framework is achieved. He noted that this change was implemented following advice from the Attorney General.

Despite the apparent repeal of the USP Policy, the current amendment maintains notable similarities. It continues to allow private parties to submit proposals for development projects, now within the scope of the Public Finance Regulations. This process is overseen by the Ministry of Finance, which employs a three-stage evaluation system, mirroring that of the former USP Policy.

This amendment is in line with the government’s strategic development plan and emphasises innovation. However, it also introduces a clause for the direct awarding of works in certain circumstances, marking a shift from the previous policy’s approach.