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 meeting, organized by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), will examine proposed border control and law enforcement measures in countries along some of the major drug trafficking routes out of Afghanistan. UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said the production in Afghanistan of opium, which is used to make heroin “has become a national security threat to the country” and to its neighbours. “Heroin is sold locally, causing major addiction and the spread of HIV/AIDS,” Mr. Costa added, calling on all countries to strengthen their measures against the scourge. Last year opium production in Afghanistan reached an estimated 3,600 tons, an increase of 6 per cent over the previous year sales and generated $1 billion for farmers and $1.3 billion for drug traffickers – or the equivalent of 52 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). At a meeting hosted by the French Government in May last year, 55 States and organizations launched the Paris Pact to encourage greater cooperation between them on law enforcement and border control so that the trafficking of Afghan heroin through West and Central Asia to Europe could be reduced. Already, several Central Asian countries have introduced new border controls as a result. Today’s meeting is also likely to consider a proposed database that would contain information on anti-drug measures and country requests for assistance around the world.