Public procurement in Bangladesh is to be upgraded and expanded with an additional $10m in World Bank (WB) cash.
The loan, which brings the bank’s financing for its procurement project in Bangladesh to $68.1m, will be used to replace a data centre, where capacity is too low to keep pace with growing demand from public procurement bodies.
The bank said it will ensure the effective use of public money and increase transparency in the procurement system.
Rajashree Paralkar, acting World Bank country director for Bangladesh, said the results of Bangladesh’s procurement improvements are already bearing fruit by bringing the system in line with international standards through digitisation.
“Results are visible in the economy, efficiency and transparency of the system that ensures better value for money,” he said, adding the additional funds will in turn improve the country’s investment climate and accelerate the pace of poverty reduction.
The new funds will also continue to support professional certification and training on public procurement, which has already ensured that over 85% of key procuring entities have at least one trained staff member.
The project, which first began in 2011, focused on rolling out electronic procurement and online performance monitoring systems in four public procuring entities covering transport, local government, water and power. Together, they account for about half of the country’s annual development budget.
Since then, the number of public sector organisations registered in the system has risen quickly, to around 200 today.
Kazi Shofiqul Azam, additional secretary of the Bangladeshi government’s economic relations division, said the web portal developed under the project laid the foundations for a sound system to regulate procurement, procurement laws and associated documents.
As a result, he said transaction costs went down and the tender processing time was substantially reduced, from 51 days in 2012 to 29 days in 2015.
“With additional financing, a data centre with increased capacity will enable other public sector agencies to access the platform,” he said.