Divisional Workshop on Public procurement held in Chittagong

Chief Guest, Special Guest, and other distinguished guest at the inaugural session of the workshop

A workshop titled ‘How to Engage Citizens and Ensure Social Accountability in Public Procurement’ organized jointly by BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University and Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU), IME Division of Planning Ministry was held on Thursday, 28 April 2016, at the Hotel Agrabad, Chittagong. The Chittagong Divisional Workshop was held as a way to raise awareness amongst citizens and receive feedback from the local level on the Third Party Engagement piloting program. Mr. FaridUddin Ahmed Chowdhury, Honorable Secretary, IME Division, Planning Ministry and Dr. Zafrul Islam, Lead Procurement Specialist, World Bank, attended the workshop as the Chief Guest and Special Guest respectively. Additional Deputy Commissioner (LA) of Chittagong, Md. Doulatuzzaman Khan presided over the workshop. Md. Aziz Taher Khan, Director, CPTU delivered the welcome speech at the event. Among others, Abdul Mannan, Member, Socio-Economic Infrastructure Division, Planning Commission and Dr. Mirza Hassan, Team Leader of Social Accountability Component of PPRP-II spoke at the event.

During the discussion session, Md. Aziz Taher Khan, Director, CPTU urged the participants to provide feedback so that the strategy for citizen engagement can be further improved.Dr. Mirza Hassan raised the question on reforming legal framework on citizen engagement in PPRP. He said, citizen and youth committee and project-orientedcommittee would be working as ‘watch dogs’ of the project. Dr. Zafrul Islam, Lead Procurement Specialist, World Bank, said that citizens have to rethink their ‘self accountability’ for the betterment of the society in everyday life rather than blaming the government for everything. Abdul Mannan, Member, Socio-Economic Infrastructure Division, Planning Commission, elaborated on thenecessity of openness, transparency and accountability in the delivery of public services. Chief Guest, Mr. FaridUddin Ahmed Chowdhury, Secretary, IME Division of Planning Ministry, argued that citizens’ ready engagement is necessary to ensure the sustainability of this project. Other speakers included, Md. Hamidul Islam, a Chittagong based journalist, E.K.M Oliullah, General Secretary of theKarnafully Gas Distribution Company and various local engineers, contractors and professors. 70 participants attended the event from different government and non-government institutions.

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The workshop consisted of a group session where participants were requested to report their feedback on the third party monitoring strategy. The participants were split into three groups, with each group presenting their recommendations at the end of the exercise. The workshop held in Chittagong is the third divisional workshop organized by BIGD. These workshops will culminate in a national seminar to be held towards the end of this year.

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Group activity session

BIGD is providing the technical assistance to the CPTU 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 of the country. Citizen’s engagement in public procurement will improve the quality of works, ensure social accountability and create an environment for the best use of public money. The involvement of citizens in public procurement can also identify the irregularities and errors of procurement. To make people aware about the existing rules and regulations of procurement process, engaging campaigns are required to involve citizens in the process.