9th Meeting of Public-Private Stakeholders’ Committee
Citizens’ engagement in public procurement is a demand of time,
says Planning Minister
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It is a demand of time to involve citizens in public procurement process and monitor those by them (citizens) as public money is used in procurement, says Mr. A H M Mostafa Kamal, Planning Minister and Chairperson of the Public-Private Stakeholders’ Committee (PPSC) in its ninth meeting. To ensure transparency and accountability in procurement process, they should be empowered and made aware of the process, he added.
He also recommended proper utilisation of public money through optimal use of resources, saying that penalty should be ensured if there is any breach of contracts.
The Minister was addressing as the Chair of the 9th meeting of PPSC, held on 4 February, 2016 at NEC Conference room, Planing Commission Campus, Agaragon, Dhaka. The Minister in the meeting also launched a newsletter titled 'Public Procurement Watch'. The BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) of BRAC University is providing the technical assistance to the CPTU, IMED to help design and implement the social accountability mechanism that aims to institutionalize and develop a third party monitoring system in the public procurement process in the country.
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World Bank's Procurement Specialist Dr. Zafrul Islam; BIGD, BRAC University Executive Director Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman; IMED Secretary Md Shahid Ulla Khandaker; LGD Secretary Abdul Malek; Planning Secretary Tarique-ul-Islam; Director General of CPTU Md. Faruque Hossain; CPD Executive Director Dr. Mostafizur Rahman; representatives from LGED, WASA, WDB, IBA of Dhaka University, media, and business community also spoke at the meeting.
It is time to think about the formation of watchdog, how it would be formed and the selection process, Mr. Malek said suggesting participation of local representatives in ensuring the quality of work. Dr.  Mustafizur Rahman recommended involvement of local people and local government in public procurement monitoring mechanism saying that “all politics and developments are local.”
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Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Mr. A H M Mostafa Kamal and Dr. Mirza M. Hasan at the meeting
Speakers stressed the need for more involvement of people in both procurement and monitoring process to ensure transparency and accountability in the execution of government's development projects. Information on the projects such as nature of project work and duration, expenditure, starting time should be made public on website, the meeting recommended. Other recommendations include empowerment of people and formation of project area-based monitoring committee and e-tendering to ensure transparency and accountability in procurement activities.
Earlier, Dr. Mirza M. Hasan, Adjunct Fellow, BIGD delivered a presentation on mechanism of citizen engagement in government's procurement activities.
PPSC is formed under the auspices of the Public Procurement Reform Project-II (PPRP-II) with representatives from business community, think tanks, and civil society organizations along with senior government officials, to institutionalize external monitoring and citizen engagement in different stages of public procurement. The committee was reconstituted recently, increasing number of PPSC members to 43 from 27, to engage high-level policy dialogue which will contribute to development of strategic goals regarding procurement reform at field level and generate discussions at different national and regional forums.