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Bangladesh’s project to digitise procurement most innovative, says World Bank

  • Published at 10:57 pm March 24th, 2021
e-gp procurement

The project aims to promote transparency, accountability, and efficiency in public procurement by enabling multi-stakeholder engagement

The Digitising Implementation Monitoring and Public Procurement (DIMAPP) Project being implemented by the Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU) of Bangladesh has been accorded the World Bank’s Directors Award for Most Innovative, Collaborative and Impactful Governance Global Practice Operations. 

The Task Team Leader of DIMAPP Ishtiak Siddique from the World Bank communicated to CPTU about the award on Wednesday, reads a press release. 

This initiative will help Bangladesh further improve its public procurement performance and also encourage many other countries to take similar initiatives, Siddique said.

The CPTU of the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) under the Ministry of Planning has been implementing DIMAPP since July 2017 with support from the World Bank.

The World Bank had initially committed to provide $55 million for the project in 2017

But earlier on February this year, the World Bank approved $40 million to help Bangladesh increase the coverage of electronic government procurement (e-GP) with new features to respond to the Covid-19 challenges.

The latest 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 enable, the World Bank said.

"Bangladesh has made systematic changes to improve the public procurement environment, including digitising the system. During the general holiday for the Covid-19 pandemic, e-GP played a critical role in continuing development works throughout the country," World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Mercy Tembon had said in February.

With the World Bank's help, the government rolled out e-GP in four procuring entities. 

In fiscal 2019-20, procurement contracts worth $17.5 billion -- representing about 62 per cent 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.

To complete the ongoing and new activities, the project has been extended by one and a half years until December 31, 2023. 

DIMAPP aims to promote transparency, accountability, and efficiency in public procurement by enabling multi-stakeholder engagement. 

To this end, in August last year, the CPTU launched a citizen portal that allows people access to public procurement data.

Citizens would be able to get updates on different procurement steps in their localities and interact through citizen blogs and social media connected with this portal. 

It will enable them to raise their voice and share their observations, according to the government.

The portal also has extensive provision to analyse procurement data and take policy decisions to improve procurement and implementation performance.

Citizens can get information about country-wide procurement of goods, works and services through the portal. 

The portal also allows customisation or search function through features as sorting or filtering. 

Policymakers, officials of procuring entities, experts, researchers and others will be able to download procurement data following the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) to conduct analysis and research work to understand procurement performance, CPTU officials had said during the launch of the portal.

About 80 per cent of the Annual Development Programme (ADP) and 45 per cent of the total national budget of Bangladesh are spent on public procurement.

Considering the importance of this, the government established the CPTU in 2002 to carry out and oversee reforms to the procurement process. DIMAPP is the latest project undertaken by the government to achieve that goal.