Govt. urged to opt for e-procurement and save public funds

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The Sri Lankan government should implement an e-procurement system that would save large amounts of money for the government. Further, it could be used for the betterment of the public, Verité Research analyst Rehana Mohammed, said.

"E-procurement will provide major efficiency gains for both government agencies and suppliers. It can significantly ease the administrative burden on government agencies in managing the tender process. For example, they can publish tenders, register suppliers, and process bids through a single online platform, " Mohammed told The Island Financial Review.

Verité Research, a private think tank, has made several recommendations regarding e-government procurement (E-GP) implementation in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan government spent approximately Rs. 597 billion through public procurement in 2015, which amounted to 5.3 percent of its GDP and 26 percent of total government expenditure.

He said for suppliers, e-procurement will make it easier to identify tender opportunities and submit bids. "An efficient e-procurement system can create a more level playing field in procurement, while saving both time and money" -

The public procurement process in Sri Lanka suffers from inefficiencies. Thus, introducing an efficient procurement system will empower businesses and reduce wastage in public funds. It was noted that there are many concerns in public procurement.

As a result of the shortcomings of the public procurements, accessing the information related to procurement and tender procedures had become very difficult, and the transaction cost on businesses had increased and had promoted anti-competitive practices.

The National Procurement Commission is now in charge of the policy and action regarding public procurements, sources said.

The government is currently focusing on financial reforms and e-procurement is also a part of these reforms.

It was pointed out that South Korea's e-procurement platform saved suppliers US$ 6.6 billion due to reduced labour and travel costs.

Additionally, government suppliers in the Philippines saved US$ 11.5 million in advertising costs from 2002 to 2011, due to the introduction of an e-procurement platform.

Several countries have set up e-procurement platforms to streamline government procurement. These include India, Bangladesh, South Korea, Philippines and Mexico. e-procurement involves the use of electronic systems to handle any or all steps of the procurement process, from online publication of tender notices, supplier registration and e-submission of bids.

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