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Brief : Web-only bids to save state millions next year: World Bank
Details :

The Daily Star
August 23, 2010

Star Business Report

The government of Bangladesh could save millions in goods, public works and services with a secure electronic procurement system, the World Bank country director said Sunday at a meeting that unveiled draft guidelines for e-procurement.

Online bids for the 3 billion US dollars the government spends annually on supplies and contracts may soon be largely free from bid-rigging, delays and paper-based errors, Ellen Goldstein told a workshop in the city: "Through the web interface, procurement information becomes accessible, and competition and transparency are enhanced, making collusive bidding difficult."

The idea that e-procurement could save all government levels money by boosting efficiency and the transparency of public procurement is not new, but the estimate of the savings and timetable hints are new.

Goldstein said e-procurement could make public contracting more accessible, secure and efficient, enhancing programme implementation. She also said procurement reform is key to strengthening governance, public-sector management and accountability in Bangladesh.

"It is well-documented that weaknesses in public procurement have a cumulative negative effect on investment and economic growth," said Goldstein. "And poor public procurement skews investment toward areas where rent-seeking is prevalent, rather than toward the areas that need it most for poverty reduction and development."

The country director praised Bangladesh"s long-term progress in public-procurement laws, which she deemed "world class” -- but she deemed "unfortunate" amendments made under the current government which no longer require bidders to have prior sales to the state and no longer allow a "lottery" choice for contract

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