The World Bank has 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.
This additional financing to the Digitizing Implementation Monitoring and Public Procurement Project (DIMAPPP) will help expand e-GP to all public procuring entities. 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.
“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. “This 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.”
The financing will help strengthen 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.
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 per cent of public procurement expenditure in the country were processed through the e-GP system. During the pandemic, e-GP enabled over 1300 public organizations to process all procurement activities online following national competitive procurement methods. In 48 upazilas, citizen groups are now monitoring contract implementation, which will be scaled up under the new financing.
The additional financing will help enhance the capacity of the e-GP data centre and improve cyber-security. It will ensure country-wide roll-out of the electronic contract management and payment module with the provision of uploading geo-tagged images.
“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. With this additional financing, the World Bank’s support to the project now stands at $95 million.
The World Bank is among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. Bangladesh currently has one of the largest IDA programs totalling over $13 billion. Since independence, the World Bank has committed more than $33 billion in grants, interest-free, and concessional credits to the country.