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Professional Diploma programme in Public Procurement - Powered by Charter for Public Procurement Studies

Heads of Procurement of South Asian Countries visit Brazil and Mexico
21st February 2014

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Organized by South Asia Regional Procurement Services (SARPS), and facilitated by Regional Procurement office of Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) and Brazil and Mexico country offices of World Bank, heads of Procurement of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Srilanka had visited the central procurement authorities of Federal Govt. of Brazil in Brasilia; state Govt. authorities of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte and federal Govt. authorities of Govt. of Mexico in Mexico City from 10 to 21 February, 2014.

The aim of this knowledge exchange program was to i) interact with government officials of public procurement divisions, policy makers and procurement staff at central and state level, so as to understand the details of the approach in the local procurement process; ii) understand their roles and contributions to the public procurement administration, their operating systems and procedures. iii) understand the organization of public procurement, including decentralization or local procurement framework for the country, including flow of funds at different levels within the system and iv) witness the procurement functions in various departments, especially for e-Procurement.

Heads of Procurement of South Asian Countries visit Brazil and MexicoIn Brazil, the first segment of the program, delegation had discussions with respective Secretaries of Ministry of Planning and Internal Affairs. They were introduced to public procurement reforms during the last 15 years in Brazil. Mission was impressed to note that a substantial portion (25%) of Brazil’s GDP comes from its Small and Medium Enterprises sector which is also creating 67% jobs in the market. The delegates experienced the long journey of the Government of Brazil in developing and stabilizing the systems that is today. They appreciated the need for an integrated approach to use of ICT for procurement planning, implementation and post contract management.

The significant learning for the South Asian team from the Brazilian experience of developing COMPRASNET was that for efficiency gains in use of ICT for Government procurement, various cogs in the wheel like Cataloguing of Items; development of a Supplier Database, Consolidation of demand for achieving value for money through economies of scale; market research and consultative process that need to be followed for developing product specifications and price reference points and the need for capacity building at both procurement entity level and bidding community shall be addressed as part of a comprehensive e-GP strategy.

Delegation also visited the state of Minas Gerais and had extensive discussiosn with authorities on use of technology, framework agreements, electronic reverse auction, development of Item and Supplier catalogues, Market lead price discovery and referencing followed, etc.

Heads of Procurement of South Asian Countries visit Brazil and MexicoSecond phase of the knowledge program was the visit to the State of Mexico. Participants witnessed the working of e-procurement tool COMPRANET which extensively uses reverse auction, accounts with on line registries for the buyers and purchasers, publicizes procurement plans etc. The Tool also provides information classified by various criteria (type of procurement, distribution by beneficiaries, suppliers, contractors, maximum, minimum, average prices, etc. Some of the other notable initiatives undertaken by the Government included Social Witness program for public procurement wherein a pool of citizen are drawn in for concurrently working with procurement entities to ensure adherence to eth stated policies and transparency in the process.

South Asia delegation found the diagnostic and spectral studies undertaken by Govt. of Mexico that lead to the decongestion of regulations in public procurement as the first requisite step for any serious reforms in the sector. The team also found the Social Witness Program a model to emulate in their countries

Delegates on the other hand had accumulated lot of knowledge and insights into the public procurement environment of Brazil and Mexico, few excerpts from some of them:

Anup UpadhyayAnup Upadhyay, Nepal “Nepal has initiated many reforms actions since the World Bank CPAR and we have now reached e-submission stage in e-GP. This visit has been excellent and informative as it shows the need for developing a comprehensive strategy for rolling out complete e-GP. I am learning many new modes and methods of procurement that benefits the exchequer. I am very positive about introducing e- reverse auctions and framework agreements in Nepal”

Nazrat BashirNazrat Bashir, Pakistan“The visit has been an excellent opportunity for me as it opened my eyes to a new paradigm in public procurement management for moving from compliance to performance. We have got exposed to the simulated real life actions on electronic reverse auctions. I will be keenly looking forward to the sustainability of such initiatives in implementing these new initiatives back home and implementing these…”

A K Kalesh KumarAccording to the Coordinator of the program, A K Kalesh Kumar of the World Bank “I found the visit a major success as it had demonstrated to South Asian country procurement heads, how Brazil and Mexico could overhaul a legally and procedurally over crowded public procurement system with sustained political commitment and bring in a paradigm shift of using procurement as a strategic tool for achieving developmental objectives of the Government rather than a compliance tool for rules and regulations. Effortless use of Information technology that takes care of all legal and regulatory requirements, use of newer methods and processes like electronic reverse auctions, framework agreements, consolidated demand purchase, social witnessing of bids, self sustaining institutional models that draw a minor percentile of contract values for promoting procurement capacity building like the SEBARAE in Brazil or BENSAFI in Mexico, etc. are replicable in the South Asian context. Delegates have returned with lots of ideas for bringing in qualitative changes in public procurement management in their respective countries. I look forward to the countries establishing contacts with Brazil and Mexico for continued South-South knowledge exchange.”

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