Firms around the globe obstructed from bidding for government contracts, says World Bank

posted by Andrew Allen
1 December 2015

Private sector suppliers are being obstructed from selling to governments around the world by obstacles ranging from slow payment times to dead links on government procurement websites, according to a new World Bank report.

The World Bank’s Benchmarking Public Procurement 2016 report found that most of the 77 economies surveyed have at least one “transparency” deficiency.

These often include no obvious regulations on details such as the legal time taken to obtain a decision after lodging a complaint, which can be essential for a supplier to know.

The report found that in many countries it is optional for a governing body engaged in a procurement process to make public the results of a tender. Less than 10 of the economies surveyed require the procuring body to publicly advertise a new procurement exercise.

The bank said the public procurement market, globally, is estimated at around $9.5 trillion each year, of which an estimated $820 billion a year is spent by developing countries.

Of the 77 economies measured, 73 have a website dedicated to public procurement. But the websites often provide little information to prospective suppliers and less than half allow firms to submit tender bids electronically.

In 17 of the economies surveyed, users cannot access tender documents from the electronic procurement portal and in some countries clicking on a “tender documents” link leads to an empty page.

In 31 countries bidders may submit their bids through an electronic platform. But in most economies e-bidding remains possible only for certain types of contract, within certain industries, or if bidders have special authorisation.

Although the law in 32 surveyed countries states that suppliers should be paid within 30 days, suppliers were paid on time in only 14.

And even in many economies where the law lays down time limits for dealing with complaints by suppliers, these limits are rarely respected and may overrun by months or years.

In four economies surveyed suppliers have to hire lawyers if they wish to file a complaint, but even though it is not mandatory this is standard practice in a further 36 economies.

Although the law in 32 surveyed countries states that suppliers should be paid within 30 days, suppliers were paid on time in only 14.

And even in many economies where the law lays down time limits for dealing with complaints by suppliers, these limits are rarely respected and may overrun by months or years.

In four economies surveyed suppliers have to hire lawyers if they wish to file a complaint, but even though it is not mandatory this is standard practice in a further 36 economies.

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