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6th South Asia Public Procurement Conference held in Thimphu, Bhutan

BBS Pema Tshewang, Thimphu
Apr 23, 2019

To provide a platform for exchange of knowledge, experiences and foster greater regional cooperation on procurement systems, the Sixth South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference is underway in Thimphu.

The three-day conference is also aimed at identifying opportunities to promote regional integration through public procurement.

Since its inception in 2011, the annual conference has been providing participants with an opportunity to learn from one another, and from experienced procurement experts with well functioning public procurement systems.

Finance Minister Namgay Tshering at the opening of the conference said it will provide the participants to discuss the emerging issues to improve public procurement systems.

"Public procurement has become important for efficient service delivery and sustainable economic growth, given that a significant portion of the of a country’s budget is used for procurement of goods and services. In developing countries with low income, public procurement expenditure counts for 15 per cent of GDP. In Bhutan, public expenditure on procurement is around 17.5 per cent of GDP."

The member countries in the South Asia region made significant progress in public procurement systems since its introduction. It includes the introduction of innovative procurement tools such as e-GP, performance measurement, framework agreements and the development of procedures and practices among many.

"A number of countries, including Bhutan from our region, have recognized procurement as a profession. Many are implementing procurement training programme but still, it is far from meeting the procurement training needs of the region. But this can be achieved through sustainable training programme across the region," Elmas Arisoy, the Procurement Manager of  South Asia Region of World Bank, said.

The conference will see discussions on the role of public procurement, regional cooperation, the professionalisation of public procurement and capacity building among others.