The World Bank has approved additional financing of $40 million to help Bangladesh increase coverage of electronic government procurement (e-GP) with new features to respond to the COVID 19 challenges.
This financing was approved in WB’s headquarters in Washington on Saturday against ‘Digitizing Implementation Monitoring and Public Procurement Project (DIMAPPP)’ will help expand e-GP to all public procuring entities, says a WB release.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 WB Country Director Mercy Tembon.
This financing will help ensure 100 percent 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 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.
Since 2002, the World Bank has been supporting the government to improve public procurement. In 2012, with WB’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 percent 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.
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 enhance the capacity of the e-GP data center 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 digitisation 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, WB 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.