27 April 2011 | Adam Leach
Government representatives from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are meeting in Nepal to discuss strategies to improve the quality of public procurement in the South Asia region.
The inaugural South Asia Region Public Procurement Forum opened yesterday with a speech by Jhala Nath Khanal, prime minister of Nepal, who promoted improving procurement as a way of reducing corruption and bringing public finances under control in the region.
The three-day forum is being supported by the World Bank and the Asian Development Fund and is intended to build on the slow but steady pace of reforming the way public procurement is conducted. Over the course of the event, representatives from eight countries will share information and best practice as they try to take a more collaborative approach to tackling issues in the region.
Delegates at the conference will hear from both The World Bank and the Asian Development Fund, co-sponsors of the event, about how they see the current state of public procurement in South Asia. There will also be a talk on the relationship between the public and private sectors.
Speaking at an event in Bhutan in March, Nima Wangdi, director-general of the finance ministry, spoke of the lack of structure in current procurement processes. “A tender committee is formed where anyone available becomes a member,” he said. “No planning is done on what’s to be procured at what time.”
As reported, CIPS is working with the government in Bhutan, where a lack of professional buying is a prime cause of problems in the supply chain, leading to delays and resulting in litigation in some cases.
Public procurement in South Asia is governed in various ways, with Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka still using regulations and guidelines, while most Indian states regulate it using General Financial Rules. However, a number of countries in the region, including Nepal and Pakistan, have passed specific laws covering procurement.