Procurement reforms supported by the World Bank have made an encouraging start as online bid invitations by government agencies went up by a staggering 571 times since its inception two years ago.
The number of electronic bid invitations for public procurement grew to over 8,000 in May 2014 from only 14 in June 2012, the WB said in a statement yesterday.
Similarly, the number of registered bidders for the electronic government procurement (e-GP) grew by 30 times to 8,900 in May 2014 from only 294 in June 2012.
The WB supports Bangladesh under its Public Procurement Reform Project II in implementing the e-GP for improved procurement outcomes, starting with the key procuring agencies.
The reform has aimed at four state-run agencies: the Roads and Highways Department, Local Government Engineering Department, Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board and Bangladesh Water Development Board. These four agencies together account for a major portion of government procurement and have also rolled out online procurement performance monitoring.
"The electronic procurement with online monitoring is making public contracting more accessible, secure, efficient and transparent, leading to a reduction in coercive bidding at decentralised levels," said the WB.
Under the project, the WB is providing training to national trainers and officials from the four agencies.
As of today, 39 national trainers have been developed and 2,200 officials from the four agencies received the three-week training. About 400 officials of 20 additional agencies also received training, and 35 received international procurement accreditation including masters in procurement.
A WB team reviewed the status of the project and noted the government's commitment to pursuing these challenging reform initiatives, contributing to improving transparency and competitiveness of the public procurement system.
The team highlighted the need for strengthening the Central Procurement Technical Unit with continuity of skilled staff and enhancing efforts for further expansion of e-GP.