The World Bank has renewed its partnership with Bangladesh on establishing transparency and accountability in public purchases and improving the overall government procurement management in the country.
The Washington-based lender is providing $55 million for the $60 million Digitising Implementation Monitoring and Public Procurement Project.
Under the project, the government plans to go for paperless tendering by this year, said a senior official of the Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU) of the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith inaugurated the five-year project at a ceremony at the Radisson Blu Water Garden in Dhaka yesterday in presence of AHM Mustafa Kamal, planning minister, MA Mannan, state minister for finance and planning, and Qimiao Fan, country director of the WB Bangladesh.
In Bangladesh, annual expenditure on public procurement amounted to over $7 billion in recent years, representing 70 percent of the annual development programme.
“We have lots of problems in government procurement and there was a lack of transparency over there but we have improved the scenario,” said Muhith.
The CPTU will implement the project for five years, from July 2017 to June 2022.
The first phase of the project concluded recently and introduced electronic procurement, known as e-GP, in 2010. As of yesterday, the authorities offloaded tenders worth Tk 1,11,000 crore under the process. The government has already awarded works valued Tk 54,000 crore.
Of the tenders, Tk 43,890 crore was offloaded only in 2016-17. Currently, about 35 percent of the annual development budget is executed using the e-GP platform, said officials.
The project was also extended twice in the past. However, it could not ensure electronic procurement up to the grassroot levels – an area the authorities are aiming this time. In Bangladesh, there are 1,300 government procuring agencies and so far 1,149 agencies have been connected to the e-GP system.
The new phase of the project will aim to restructure and institutionalise the e-GP as part of efforts to improve overall public procurement management. Other goals include enhancing digitisation of public procurement, professiona-lisation of procurement and citizen engagement and digitising project implementation monitoring, said a senior official of the CPTU.
On August 29 this year, the Economic Relations Division signed an agreement with the WB to get the financial assistance of $55 million.
Vinay Sharma, WB director for governance global practice, Md Mofizul Islam, secretary of the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division, and Md Faruque Hossain, director-general of the CPTU, also attended the launching.