World Bank supports Bangladesh’s efforts to improve public procurement system

The World Bank has approved a US$ 23.6 on 5 July, 2007 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) to support the Government of Bangladesh's efforts in order to improve performance of its public procurement system.

The Public Procurement Reform Project II will support procurement reforms by improving procurement quality through better management and monitoring. It aims to strengthen procurement management at sectoral level, create a sustained program of developing skilled procurement professionals, and will introduce electronic government procurement in target agencies and the Central Procurement Technical Unit on a pilot basis. It is also designed to create greater awareness of a well functioning public procurement system by engaging civil society, think tanks, and the private sector. Shortfalls in core governance, including inefficiencies in public procurement practices, poor financial management, corruption, and quality of civil service have led to low expectations for public services in Bangladesh. It has contributed to the high cost of doing business that, in turn, has deterred rapid private sector development.

The Government of Bangladesh established a procurement policy unit within the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division of the Ministry of Planning, issued Public Procurement Regulations in 2003, and in July 2006 passed a procurement law in the Parliament. The law and the regulations contain most features of international good public procurement practices.  In addition, it developed a critical mass of procurement professionals, trained over 1,800 staff, and has been piloting an automated procurement performance tracking system.  All of these actions are contributing to building confidence among people about the country's own procurement system. This project builds on the first Public Procurement Reform Project, which was approved by the World Bank on May 2, 2002. The credit from IDA, the World Bank's concessionary arm, is interest free and has 40 years to maturity with a 10-year grace period; it carries a service charge of 0.75 percent.