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Large ministries and divisions to be brought under e-GP with WB's new $40m funding

  • Published at 08:27 pm February 7th, 2021
World Bank-e-GP logo

The Washington-based multilateral lender, which has been helping the government to improve public procurement since 2002, approved $40 million to help increase the coverage of e-GP with new features

The Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU) plans to develop a contract management system through the electronic government procurement (e-GP) to bring more entities under the process with the World Bank's new $40 million fund. 

On Sunday, the WB, which has been helping the Bangladesh government to improve public procurement since 2002, approved $40 million to help increase the coverage of e-GP with new features. 

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, said the Washington-based multilateral lender in a statement.

“Today's approval of $40 billion is the result of our long-time negotiations with the World Bank,” Mohammed Shoheler Rahman Chowdhury, director general of CPTU, told Dhaka Tribune on Sunday.

With the new fund, the CPTU will develop a process to manage contracts, which includes submission of e-document after completion of the projects, e-payment and e-auditing. 

Currently, the CPTU’s focus is on the large ministries and divisions that spent the most money from the development budget. 

In 2012, with the WB’s help, the government rolled out e-GP in four procuring entities. As of January 31, a total 450,563 procurement have been made through the e-GP, according to data from CPTU.

Of the large ministries and divisions, only four -- Roads and Highways Department, Water Development, Rural Electrification Board and Public Works Department -- are integrated with the system, according to Chowdhury. 

In fiscal 2019-20, $17.5 billion worth of procurement contracts representing about 62 per cent of public procurement expenditure in the country were processed through the e-GP system.

“With our great efforts, we took electronic government procurement to a certain level of the cycle of the procurement process. It is now at the stage of the contract-signing. We would like to bring 28 more organisations under the e-GP and the target is to get those who spent a huge amount of money,” Chowdhury added.

Bangladesh has made systematic changes to improve the public procurement environment, including digitizing the system, said Mercy Tembon, World Bank’s country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan, in a statement.

For instance, during the 66-day countrywide shutdown to slow the spread of coronavirus in the first half of last year, e-GP played a critical role in continuing development works throughout the country, she said.

During the pandemic, e-GP enabled over 1,300 public organisations to process all procurement activities online following national competitive procurement methods, according to the WB. 

The latest round of financing will help ensure 100 per cent use of e-GP and upgrade the system to enable the country to continue ensuring timely and quality public works and public service delivery, she added.

“The digitisation of public procurement was a game-changer for both the public and private sector,” said Ishtiak Siddique, the WB’s team leader for the project. 

It helped to increase efficiency and transparency and made doing business easier, he added.

With this additional financing, the WB’s support to the project, which has been extended by one-and-a-half years to 2023, now stands at $95 million.

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 additional financing will help strengthen the emergency procurement procedures and develop a roadmap for sustainable procurement. 

It will also build provision to support the small and medium-sized and women-led enterprises and scaling-up citizen engagement in public procurement, the statement said.

The additional financing will also help enhance the capacity of the e-GP data centre and improve cyber-security. 

It will ensure the countrywide roll-out of the electronic contract management and payment module with the provision of uploading geotagged images. 

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