Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are working together to find significant annual savings in fleet costs to ensure better value for taxpayer dollars. The two provinces will reduce costs of procuring light-duty vehicles by combining volumes and standardizing specifications. “Nova Scotians expect government to make smart, efficient purchases to save money while improving the quality of goods and services,” said Premier Darrell Dexter. “This partnership shows how the Atlantic Procurement Agreement is working and to create sustainable opportunities for businesses in this region.” The Atlantic Procurement Agreement was established in 1993 to reduce interprovincial trade barriers to public procurement. Joint procurement helps leverage opportunities for creative service delivery, reach higher standards in areas such as transportation, health and education, achieve lower prices to ensure best value for public entities and increase opportunities for Atlantic suppliers. As part of this agreement, New Brunswick will lease over 100 vehicles for New Brunswick nurses. In Nova Scotia, most vehicles are purchased outright, however some departments lease a small number of vehicles. New Brunswick Premier David Alward noted the long history of smart partnerships among the Atlantic provinces and highlighted the tremendous potential for future savings. “Innovative regional partnerships are a key focus of government’s plan to rebuild New Brunswick’s economy and reinvest in communities,” said Premier Alward. “By working together, we can find new and better ways of delivering services and programs for citizens who expect no less.” The four Atlantic provinces are already purchasing school buses through joint procurement, which has saved $28 million over the past four years. They are continuing to look for more opportunities. This partnership and savings are identified through Nova Scotia’s Strategic Procurement Project, which should result in millions of dollars in savings across government, school boards, and the broader public sector when complete in February.
The mass arrests occurred when protests broke out in the capital, Kinshasa, and Lubumbashi, the second largest city in the DRC, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) told journalists in Geneva. Of those currently being held, at least 11 are believed to be in ‘incommunicado’ detention, including prominent civil society representative Christopher Ngoyi Mutamba. His family members and defence lawyers have had no news of him for more than two weeks, said spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani. “The UN joint human rights office in the DRC has been working with the authorities to secure the release of all those who have been illegally detained, as they enter their third week of detention without access to lawyers,” she added.OHCHR reiterates its call to the authorities to release all those imprisoned for exercising their right to peaceful assembly, for expression of their views, for their affiliation with the opposition or for disagreeing with the amendments to the electoral bill. Internet and mobile text messaging services have also been restricted for more than two weeks now, causing great disruption, particularly to vulnerable communities.“We urge the Government to promptly re-establish these services and to create a space for civil society discussion, to avoid entrenching the divisions in the country ahead of the upcoming elections,” Ms. Shamdasani stressed.