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TIB blames public procurement procedure for govt sector sleaze

Published : Thursday, 17 September, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Count : 96

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Wednesday revealed that "Public Procurement Procedure is the main source of worldwide government sector corruption.  It costs US dollar 400 billion yearly which is more than 1.5 per cent of the world's total Gross Domestic Product (GDP)."   
The anti-graft watchdog has disclosed this while launching TIB's latest survey report, "Governance in Public Procurement:    Effectiveness of e-GP in Bangladesh" at a virtual press conference.
TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman also addresses the key drawback of implementation of Electronic Government Procurement (e-GP) system in Bangladesh.
He said, "Political influence, local influential quarters and syndicate are the main challenges in implementation of e-GP system in Bangladesh."
Dr Iftekharuzzaman also said that in Bangladesh 7.5 to 28 per cent of the total budget has lost in the public procurement corruption. 
  The survey was conducted on the e-procurement system followed in the government's four important institutions: Local Government Engineering Department, Roads and Highways Department, Bangladesh Water Development Board, and Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board.
The research observed that "e-GP has not yet being used in all types of procurement by all government organizations and e-GP could not reduce corruption and increase quality of work."
 The survey found e-GP only helped the government switch its procurement system from manual to technical. Still many organizations still rely on manual work processing method. 
The report disclosed, "Although the procurement process has been simplified, political influence, collusion, syndicates are still playing a central role in getting work orders. Following e-GP's launch, a section of stakeholders discovered new ways of corruption" the report said.
The research suggests that "The benefits of e-GP will be fully reaped if these existing limitations are overcome."
The study further noted that "In some areas, political leaders, especially local MPs, decide who will submit tenders for a particular job. In many cases the local political leader distributes among his staff work under a large licence."
The research also found the allegations of negligence of the concerned officials in the evaluation of tenders. There are also allegations that officials informed the contractors about the rate schedule.
In addition, with the help of computer operators in the office, illegal work is done.
According to TIB's research, Local Government Engineering Department has scored 42 per cent, Bangladesh Water Development Board has scored 43 per cent and Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board has scored 44 per cent.  All the institutions are in the 'Not Good' grade.
On the other hand almost all the institutions are in close proximity (56-74 per cent) in terms of compliance with the e-GP process. It has seen that no organization got any score in e-GP management and effectiveness.
The research suggested that in some cases there is still much room for improvement.
Again, in terms of transparency and accountability, the scores of all the organizations are much lower (19 to 30 per cent).

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