close
Advertisement

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
June 24, 2021

Restricting competitive environment: $70b worth public sector procurement underway without e-procurement

ISLAMABAD: The public sector procurement in Pakistan ranges from $60 to $70 billion on a per annum basis and continues without implementing e-procurement which severely restricts the competitive environment and provides an opportunity to only few to participate in bidding.

The current bidding processes are mostly manipulated, helping few favorites in minting huge profits and commissions while escalating the cost of cost of bid manifolds during massive procurement that is undertaken on an annual basis and results in losses of Rs 200-300 billion annually to the government. Mubasher, an overseas Pakistani who had invested in a construction firm in Islamabad had complained on the PM’s Portal that the PM was wrongly briefed on December 12, 2019, by the Secretary Ministry of Housing and Works that e-procurement was implemented in Pakistan Public Works Department, Islamabad (PWD) whereas nothing like that had actually happened even to this day. He said most federal government departments are dragging their feet and undermining the PTI manifesto and the Prime Minister Imran Khan by not implementing e-procurement to eliminate corruption and save billions. He claimed there is no institutional accountability, procurement rules are flouted with impunity, kickbacks rate runs up to 20 percent of the cost of the tender and sometimes the amount of the bids are escalated up to 50 per cent incurring huge losses to the government. When this scribe contacted PPRA high-ups, they said that the pilot project of e procurement would be implemented in Education and Health from January 2022 and then the software would be replicated among all the other ministries by March 2022. The official sources said that the World Bank provided $51 million in December 2017 for three components of placement of e-procurement and coming up with standardized bidding documents. After different hitches, they said that the whole process of hiring consultants was accomplished and the PPRA signed agreement with a successful firm in April. The pilot project will be initiated from January 2022 and it will be implemented by the whole federal government from March 2022.

According to PIDE findings on public procurement, Pakistan is losing over a trillion rupees in its public procurement, which can be saved through an effective and efficient procurement system. The system is generally stagnant and no substantial development was observed to enhance its efficacy. Over the years, PPRA rules have seen few amendments, but no significant changes have been made in the initial ordinance and consequent rules, thus, there remain many shortcomings and flaws despite nearly two decades since the authority was put in place. The major criticism of the PPRA ordinance and rules is the lack of coherence between the two.