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e-GP promises a complete procurement system

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The Government of Bangladesh introduced electronic Government Procurement (e-GP) system to digitise public procurement processes. The formal inauguration of the e-GP portal took place on June 2, 2011, marking the beginning of digitisation in public procurement. The Bangladesh Public Procurement Authority (BPPA), formerly known as the Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU), has developed and operationalised the e-GP system for public procurement.

The objectives of e-GP include enhancing transparency, efficiency, and competitiveness in public procurement processes and creating an advanced procurement environment through a paperless electronic system, eliminating all forms of hassles and ensuring accountability.

Various government agencies involved in procurement activities for infrastructure development, goods, and services, aiming at improving the standard of living of the people, procure various goods, works, and services annually. Approximately 40 per cent of the national budget and 80 per cent of the Annual Development Programme (ADP) expenditure are spent on public procurement, which amounts to nearly $30 billion USD.

Due to the significant amount involved, and the absence of any legal framework in the past, the government initiated public procurement reform in 1999. Subsequently, the Public Procurement Act 2006 and the Public Procurement Rules 2008 were enacted.

Under Section 65(1) of the Public Procurement Act 2006, the e-GP system was introduced. Currently, 1464 government procuring agencies under various ministries, divisions, and departments are utilising the e-GP system managed by the BPPA. Additionally, more than 114,000 registered tenderers are using the e-GP system.

Initially, procurement processes, from Annual Procurement Plans (APPs) to contract signing, were conducted through the e-GP system. Since 2022 onwards, contract management is also being done online through the e-GP system, meaning that from APPs to contract completion, everything is processed online.

The comprehensive e-GP system for public procurement has received acclaim both domestically and internationally. Since the implementation of the e-GP system, procurement of goods and works has been conducted through it until 2023. This year, intellectual and professional service procurement has also been included in e-GP.

From 2022 onwards, several new features have been added to the e-GP system, such as: International Competitive Tendering (ICT), Electronic Contract Management System (e-CMS), e-Audit Module, Direct Procurement Method (DPM) and Tenders' Database

The e-GP system has obtained four ISO certificates as part of international recognition. About 70 per cent of public procurement in the country is conducted through e-GP. The implementation of e-GP has led to some positive changes in public procurement, such as:

The average time for processing public procurement has decreased from 100 days to 57 days due to the introduction of e-GP. About 96 per cent of contract award notices are issued within the initial validity period of tenders. 100 per cent of tender notices and contract award notices are published in the e-GP system. The use of the e-GP system is saving $600 million annually. The travel distance for tenderers has been reduced by 49.7 million kilometers. About 1,053 million pages of paper have been saved. Carbon emissions have been reduced by 153,559 tons.

The Citizen Portal (citizen.cptu.gov.bd) has been launched by the BPPA to provide various information on government procurement to citizens. Many information related to government procurement is now at the fingertips of citizens. The CPTU was transformed into the BPPA by the government on September 18, 2023, aiming for more professionalism, skill development, and overall improvement in the procurement environment. On December 10 of the same year, the Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) Policy was issued in the country. BPPA is working to establish a sustainable public procurement system under the target number 12.7 of the SDG.

Md Shafiul Alam is the Senior Communication Consultant, DIMAPPP, BPPA.

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