The World Bank yesterday approved $40 million to help Bangladesh expand the coverage of electronic government procurement (e-GP), with new features to respond to the Covid-19 challenges.
The additional financing to the Digitizing Implementation Monitoring and Public Procurement Project will help expand e-GP to all public procuring entities.
With this additional financing, the World Bank's support to the project now stands at $95 million.
To respond to the challenges of Covid-19 pandemic and any other future emergencies, the financing will help add important features to the e-GP system, including international bidding, direct contracting, framework agreement, electronic contract management and payment, procurement data analytics, geo-tagging, and others, according to a release from World Bank.
"Bangladesh has made systematic changes to improve the public procurement environment, including digitizing the system. During the general holiday for the Covid-19 pandemic, e-GP played a critical role in continuing development works throughout the country," said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
She said that this financing will help ensure 100 percent use of e-GP and upgrade the system to enable the country to continue ensuring timely and quality public works and public service delivery.
Since 2002, the World Bank has been supporting the government to improve public procurement. In 2012, with the World Bank's help, the government rolled out e-GP in four procuring entities. In FY20, US$17.5 billion worth of procurement contracts representing about 62 percent of public procurement expenditure in the country were processed through the e-GP system.
During the pandemic, e-GP enabled over 1,300 public organisations to process all procurement activities online following national competitive procurement methods.
The project has developed a web portal for citizens to easily track data on public procurement and provide feedback. In 48 upazilas, citizen groups are already monitoring contract implementation, which will be scaled up under the new financing.
"The digitization of public procurement was a game-changer for both the public and private sector. It helped to increase efficiency and transparency and made doing business easier," said Ishtiak Siddique, World Bank Team Leader for the project.
To complete the ongoing and new activities, the project is extended by one and half years till December 31, 2023.