e-GP: Improving service delivery is the key
Shafiul Alam, Senior Communications Consultant, DIMAPPP, CPTU : Since its introduction in 2011 to conduct public procurement online, the electronic government procurement (e-GP) till date witnessed an exponential growth.
“The reason behind such a growth is acceptance by private sector tenderers and government procuring entities because they wanted a system in tendering process which is free from any physical obstruction, influence and hassles,” said Md Faruque Hossain, Director General of Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU) of Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED), Ministry of Planning.The CPTU introduced e-GP in 2011 in line with Section 65(1) of the Public Procurement Act- 2006 to enhance efficiency, transparency and accountability for better public service delivery.
Users like tenderers and procuring entities need to register with e-GP first. They can apply online to CPTU for registration. After registration they can log in (www.eprocure.gov.bd) and use the services. Tenderers no more need not go to government offices to submit tenders. They can now submit it online any-time from home or anywhere. The e-GP system is simple, secure and speedy. It saves time and cost.
Upon inauguration of the e-GP portal hosted at www.eprocure.gov.bd by the Prime Minister on June 2, 2011 tender through online was first invited on August 23, 2011. On January 25, 2011 e-GP Guidelines was issued in line with the Public Procurement Act 2006 and Public Procurement Rules 2008.
Operationalization of procurement law, rules, e-GP Guidelines and capacity building of procuring entities and tenderers are the major agenda of a series of reforms implemented by CPTU with support from World Bank under the Public Procurement Reform Project. The reforms in public procurement started since 2002 with the establishment of CPTU as a nodal office to regulate and monitor compliance with the law and rules.
The e-GP system was piloted in 2011 in four large agencies such as Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB), Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) and Roads and Highways Department (RHD).
The four agencies have implemented e-GP 100 % up to the value of Tk100 crore. Since 2012 e-GP growth started skyrocketing and it was implemented in other government procuring agencies. The e-GP success has earned accolade at home and abroad. Bangladesh is in a leading position in e-GP implementation in South Asia and beyond, said Faruque Hossain.
Until May 2018, about 80% of country’s total public procurement up to the value of TK100 crore have come under e-GP. In all, e-GP coverage is about 50% of the total volume of public procurement. It is growing fast. In 2017, CPTU took up another project titled, “Digitizing Implementation Monitoring and Public Procurement Project (DIMAPPP)” with World Bank support for full implementation of e-GP.
Under the project, 28 more public sector organizations have been targeted to expedite e-GP implementation. The LGED will take care of e-GP implementation of 888 Local Government Institutions under the Local Government Division. In each of the target agencies, there is one Focal Person related to DIMAPPP implementation. A dedicated procurement cell has also been formed in each of the agencies.
Statistics show up to 3 June 2018, about 1224 out of a total of 1300 procuring agencies were connected to e-GP system. The number of tenderers registered with the system is now about 46 thousand. Up to 3 June 2018 from 2011, more than one lakh 85 thousand tenders were invited through e-GP and their total value is over one lakh 58 thousand crore taka.
The e-GP system through tender document sales, registration and renewal has so far earned over TK287 crore. A total of 45 banks are also connected to e-GP under MoUs with CPTU to collect payments both online and offline. For e-GP support 24 hours Help Desk is at work at CPTU and it is also available at 16575. Help Desks have also been set up for the 28 new target agencies.
There are a total of 60 national procurement trainers in the country. Steps have been taken under DIMAPPP for further capacity building and professionalization. Citizen engagement will also be forged for boosting transparency.
The CPTU has made two innovations in the domain of public procurement. Such innovations will help the stakeholders, especially the procuring entities and tenderers. However, others concerned will also benefit from such innovative interventions.
e-GP Video Tutorials
Video tutorials to help procuring entities, tenderers, financial institutions and others in the conduct of e-GP have been developed and finalized for CPTU by Dohatec New Media. The innovative online tutorials have 20 separate modules in separate videos. Total duration of all the video tutorials is one thousand minutes.
Uploading of tender notices on CPTU website by PEs
The CPTU has launched its new website (www.cptu.gov.bd). Earlier, PEs used to send their tender notices (non-e-GP) and CPTU would upload those on its website. But now arrangement has been made and system innovated for PEs to post their tender notices on the new website by themselves.
Positive changes after e-GP introduction:
In 2007 about 15 % of the contract awards used to be made public whereas in e-GP system 100 % of the contracts are published on e-GP website. About 70 % of the tender notices were published in 2007 and in 2017 it is 100 % in e-GP. In 2007, only 10 % of contract award decisions were made within the initial tender validity period and in e-GP it stood at 99.5 % in 2016. The competition on an average per tender was only 4 in 2007 while in 2017 it rose to 11 per tender in e-GP.
Agenda ahead:Some more reforms will be implemented under DIMAPPP. In line with SDG target for public procurement steps will be taken to make it sustainable. The steps include framing a disposal policy considering the life cycle costs of procurement, empowering CPTU with more autonomy, self-sufficiency of e-GP system and digitization of project monitoring by IMED, said the DG, CPTU.
Actions to achieve the SDG target of 12.7 are; i) procurement process using e-GP and (ii) usage of PPR in public procurement. The lead division responsible for this is IMED.
On the procurement front by 2018, full coverage of procurement in e-GP up to any value, introduction of intellectual and service procurement in e-GP, international and intellectual service procurement, contract management are high on agenda, he added.