Finance Ministry unveils e-govt procurement system | Sunday Observer

Finance Ministry unveils e-govt procurement system

The Finance Ministry launched an electronic government procurement system (e-GP) last week.

This major reform in public finance is expected to improve transparency in procurement, minimise corruption, reduce government costs and increase efficiency in public processes

Through the e-GP system, the Treasury could save nearly Rs. 30 billion, while improving public financial management to a great extent, a Ministry official said.

Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera had obtained the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers to introduce the electronic Government Procurement System.

The Minister said it is an important benchmark in realising more transparency and efficiency in public services.

Sri Lanka received the South Asian Innovative Procurement Award at the fifth South Asian Public Procurement Conference in New Delhi last year.

“Today in advancing our efforts to transform the traditional manual procurement process into a modern system, the Finance Ministry places Sri Lanka on par with advanced nations, that includes Singapore, the European Union and Canada.

Sri Lanka, being a State Party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, has international obligations to improve our public procurement processes,” the Minister said. Article 9 of the Corruption Convention refers to public procurement and management of public finances, whereby State Parties are requested to take steps to set up appropriate systems of procurement, based on transparency, competition and objective criteria in decision-making, that are effective in preventing corruption. The minister said, “We, as a country, annually spend around a quarter of our government expenditure on public procurement, which amounts to nearly 15% of the GDP. Considering the magnitude of the total annual expenditure, it needs close attention and scrutiny from all the stakeholders in the public management systems. Procurement also plays a strategic function.

“Corruption, misappropriation and mismanagement of public assets must be tackled with a policy of zero tolerance, which from my point of view, remains difficult in our part of the world because of systemic weaknesses.

“In Sri Lanka, the decisions on implementing many important projects are lagging behind because of the manual system that links to the decades old complicated governance mechanisms. Now in the first quarter of the 21st Century, Sri Lanka as a modern nation, must look forward to use new technologies to make decisions faster, transparent and more accountable, Minister Samaraweera added.