Policy Note, August 2016

E-Government Procurement: Towards an Efficient and Transparent Procurement Management at the Local level

Contributor: Dr. Mirza M. Hassan, Muhammad Ashikur Rahman, Md. Mahan Ul Hoque

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The purpose of this policy note is two-fold: a) to provide an empirical assessment of the experiences (benefits derived, process related challenges, governance issues, capacity/proficiency factors) of both state officials and business community, in using Electronic Government Procurement or e-GP at the local level; and b) to offer a few policy recommendations, which will contribute to the relevant policy development in this area. In mid 2010, the government started piloting the ‘integrated e-GP System’ for selected procuring entities such as Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), Roads and Highways Department (RHD), Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) and Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (REB). The aim of the government is to roll out the tested e-GP system across all procuring entities which use public funds. The Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU) of IMED, Ministry of Planning, is implementing e-GP.

There are many nations in the world who have been successful in bringing technological and dynamic changes into the procurement process. South Korea and the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh have implemented e-GP very successfully. Bangladesh has also made considerable progress in implementing e-GP. According to a recent WB study, the number of bidders per tender rose to seven in 2015 from four in 2007. The processing time - from invitation of tenders to award of contracts - dropped to 29 days last year (2015) from 51 days in 2012. e-GP has simplified the public procurement process for both procuring entities and bidders. Bidders now can submit tenders online using the e-GP portal, from where and through which procuring agencies (PAs) and procuring entities (PEs) are able to perform their procurement related activities using a dedicated secured web based dashboard. This online platform is designed to ensure equal access to the bidders, to reduce transaction cost, and to increase efficiency, transparency and accountability in the public procurement process in Bangladesh.