e-procurement and transparency in public sector : a case of Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), Dhamoirhat upazila,Naogaon.
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Procurement is the acquisition of goods, services or works from an external sources and performance of services by any contractual agreement. Public procurement means procurement using public funds. Public sector organizations acquire goods, services and works from external sources. Before 2003, public procurement process of Bangladesh was not standard neither to fulfill donor agencies' expectation nor meet the country’s goal for ensuring transparency and good governance. In this context, Government of Bangladesh, by replacing traditional public procurement legal frameworks, enacted Public Procurement Act, 2006 with consultation of World Bank and based on this Act Public Procurement Rules, 2008 were formulated. Despite of comprehensive legal framework, tender box looting by the powerful bidder, corruption, fraudulent, conspiracy and coercion were the common phenomena of manual public procurement system in Bangladesh. These irregularities lead to reducing economic growth and lowering the achievement of social objectives. In order to streamline the procurement process and address mismanagement the public agencies, within the legal mandate drawn from PPA, 2006, introduced electronic public procurement (e-GP). This study aims to evaluate the transparency of e-GP in public procurement by examining the procurement process of Dhamoirhat LGED office. For this purpose, a questionnaire survey has been conducted to gather primary data. Key informant Interviews have been conducted to collect invaluable opinions of upazila engineer and his team. Likely, a short-listed bidder of Dhamoirhat LGED office has been interviewed for understanding their opinion about e-GP. It is found from the survey that e-GP is more transparent than manual system in terms of bidding document submission. e-GP saves 50 per centper cent of the procurement processing cost than manual system. e-GP promotes competition that naturally reduces prices. Selection of eligible bidder is more transparent in e-GP than manual system. Besides the benefits, a number of shortfalls have been identified: lack of infrastructure and unskilled manpower. Recently World Bank has approved “Expand -e-GP project" which worth $55 million for strengthening the country's public procurement. This project will help the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) effectively monitor the execution of annual development programs by establishing a single online platform connecting all public sector organizations.