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First Procurement Knowledge Exchange Forum among ASEAN Countries

First Procurement Knowledge Exchange Forum among ASEAN Countries
By Elmas Arisoy,
Practice Manager, Solutions and Innovations in Procurement, Governance Global Practice, World Bank


The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries are an economic grouping of 10 countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) with common objectives and a Charter. One of the objectives of the group is to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development among members. ASEAN countries plan to establish a common market that will ensure free flow of goods, services, investment, labor and capital within the member countries. Common understanding on procurement policies and learning from each other would further consolidate efforts towards achievement of this vision, since procurement and contracting are key tools to promoting inter-country trade.

The first ASEAN Countries Procurement Knowledge Exchange Forum was jointly organized by the World Bank and the Ministry of Planning and Finance (MOPF) of Myanmar and was hosted by the MOPF of Myanmar on November 16-18, 2016 at Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. A total of 80 participants from nine countries including development partners participated in the event. Each country had two participants except Singapore who could not participate this time due to other prior commitments. Development Partners who participated included Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), European Union (EU), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and South Korea. "The World Bank values its Partnership with Myanmar and other ASEAN Countries. We trust that this event will further strengthen our partnership." said Abdoulaye Seck, the World Bank Country Manager for Myanmar.

The objective of the forum was to bring together public procurement officials from ASEAN countries and provide them with a platform to exchange their knowledge and experiences on procurement reforms and their implementation, and ultimately work towards adopting common approaches.

"We are different but we could learn from each other", echoed participants from Indonesia. It was recognized among the Forum participants that the procurement modernization in each ASEAN member country was at different stages. Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand are advanced at the application and use of e-Government Procurement (eGP); Philippines and Indonesia have put in place strong professionalization and capacity building programs whilst others are at early stages of developing the eGP system and some just launched the procurement modernization.

"As Myanmar has embarked on full democratic processes in recent years, the role of public procurement has become even more significant in the country's economy. It is also noteworthy that as public procurement accounts for 10 to 20 percent of a country's GDP, in using public finance, it is crucial to prevent fraud, waste, corruption or local protectionism in procuring goods, services and works or constructions." Said U Maung Maung Win, the Deputy Minister of Planning and Finance.

It was also emphasized by U Zaw Naing, the Deputy Director General of Treasury Department during the Forum that "The Government of Myanmar established a Public Procurement Rules and Regulation Steering Committee (PPRRSC) in April 2015 to lead procurement reforms including preparation of the law. This forum comes at a great time for Myanmar as it gives us an opportunity to learn from others.

Procurement Knowledge Exchange Forum

Moving forward, participants from ASEAN countries and Development Partners (DP) acknowledged that the Forum is an important platform for bringing together country and DP representatives to share knowledge, ideas and lessons learned. Participants prepared a Statement of Intent and agreed that the topic for the subsequent Forum will be decided at the end of each Forum, and also agreed to collaborate on the promotion, preparation and organization of future Forums in ways as agreed among the countries. Topics suggested by the group for the next forum included professionalization, e-procurement, complaints handling mechanisms, monitoring implementation of public procurement reforms.

The Forum was jointly organized by the World Bank, Governance Global Practice led by the Solutions and Innovations in Procurement and the Government of the Union of Myanmar, Ministry of Planning and Finance.

Click the links below to view press releases and videos:

Myanmar International TV
The MYAWADY (Local news)