November 20, 2019
tami sin youtube  twitter facebook

    New Public Procurement Guidelines to cut down on corruption, waste

    June 15, 2018

    The National Procurement Commission (NPC) after two years of deliberations, yesterday introduced the new Public Procurement Guidelines for all government procurements. This is expected to be the first step towards cutting down on corruption and waste in government and making public expenditure more transparent.

    The guidelines which are an update of the existing ones which have been in place for 12 years, has been Gazetted and is expected to be presented to Parliament by the Prime Minister soon. The NPC stated that it needs to be approved in Parliament before August 9.

    The NPC was one of the independent commissions set up by the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and is empowered to formulate a ‘fair, equitable transparent, competitive and cost effective procurement guidelines and procedure for procurement’ and to ‘monitor and report to appropriate authorities when the procurement process has not been followed in an appropriate manner.

    “The NPC only has the power to monitor, we do not have the authority to stop any irregular procurements,” NPC Chairman Nihal Wickramasuriya siad. The Chairman addressing the media at BMIC explained that once the guidelines and handbook for government servants are approved, all ministries would have to formulate their own procurement plans in accordance with approved action plans.

    The NPC would then monitor whether the ministries and departments are conducting procurements according to the plans, whether all qualified bidders are afforded equal opportunity in the bidding process, whether the selection of contractors and the awarding of contracts are done in a fair and transparent manner, whether suitably qualified members are appointed for Procurement Committees and Technical Evaluation Committees and to investigate and report on officers who have worked outside of the guidelines.

    The NPC has the power to report institutions which do not follow the Guideline to Parliament and the Auditor General. Wickramasuriya also explained that they had taken the opportunity to introduce new features such as the ability to conduct procurement with multiple suppliers at once on a short to medium term basis, to move towards E-procurement, Information Systems, Open Contracting Data Standards (OCDS), Green Procurement and the introduction of Appeal Boards to all levels of procurements, “At present, only Cabinet level procurements have Appeal Boards but now we will have it at all levels of government,” the NPC Chairman said.

    According to NPC Member P.A.D.C.B. Perera, however moving completely to an E-procurement level would take the country at least 10 years, “But, we can start small, like publishing tenders and tender procedures online”. The OCDS system which will allow the public to access procurement data in the meantime will also only come into effect after the E-procurement process in complete, added Perera, “We have set the policy so we are ready when the time comes”.

    The Treasury which is handling the implementation of the Guidelines, he said has already appointed a Steering Committee and studying the best way forward.The Guidelines in addition will also empower the NPC to look into the credibility of persons appointed to Appeal Boards.More importantly this will also allow citizens to submit Right to Information Requests once tenders are awarded and they will have access to the full reports of the Technical Evaluation Committees, “The public will know how their money is spent,” Wickramasuriya said.

    dgi log front