Fourth South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference
Fourth South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference in Sri Lanka turns spotlight on e-Government Procurement
Feb 20, Colombo: Welcoming the Heads of Public Procurement Agencies or Authorities of the eight member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena Monday inaugurated the Fourth South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference in Colombo.
The Conference under the theme "Electronic Government Procurement (e-GP) in South Asia: Achievements, Opportunities and Challenges" turns spotlight on how E-Government Procurement can support countries in boosting the efficiency, transparency and competitiveness of their public procurement systems.
Understanding the importance of moving towards an e-procurement system the Government has decided to hold the three-day conference in Sri Lanka. It is being hosted by the Department of Public Finance, Ministry of Finance, and is co‐sponsored by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Islamic Development Bank.
Addressing the gathering, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough said: "At the World Bank, we are committed to procurement reforms with a view to improving market efficiency and better service delivery."
"It is well understood, and illustratable with examples from many parts of the world, that weak procurement systems steer investments away from development and hence minimize the impact on poverty reduction and shared prosperity," she added.
The Colombo conference is the fourth in a series of South Asia Region Public Procurement Conferences. The first installment was in Kathmandu, Nepal in April 2011, the second in Islamabad, Pakistan in March 2014, and the most recent in Dhaka, Bangladesh in November 2015.
Holding the conference in Sri Lanka will pave the way to achieve the Government's objectives of sustainable development and making a new economic and social environment for the betterment of the country and the people, according to the host.
This annual learning, knowledge and experience sharing event is organized under the auspices of the South Asia Region Public Procurement Network (SARPPN) which comprises senior public procurement officials from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
The theme of the Fourth Conference is of strategic importance to the South Asian countries as they are at different stages of introduction and operationalization of electronic procurement. E-GP makes public procurement more strategic and serves as an effective innovation to institute procurement reforms with boosted performance in terms of efficiency, transparency, competition, fairness and value for money.
During the Conference, the winners of the first ever South Asia Procurement Innovation Awards 2016-17 will also be felicitated for their winning papers.
After the inauguration in Colombo, the conference now moves to Kandy till February 23, where there will be more in-depth technical sessions. The final output of the Conference will take the form of an action plan to track progress in this specific area.
According to Mr. Felipe Goya, Practice Manager for Governance for South Asia in the World Bank the 4th South Asia Regional Procurement Conference is the most important forum in the region as the countries in the region gear up to increasingly use electronic procurement. Mr. Hiroyuki Maruyama Head of delegation from ADB and Mr. Issa Modi Ide, Division Manager of the Public Procurement Division of the Islamic Development Bank also reflected the importance and timeliness of this event in their messages.
On the seamless organization of the conference and the high participation of delegates in various technical sessions, Mr. Asif Ali, World Bank Country Focal Point for Procurement consider this as an excellent illustration of the great benefits Countries and development partners can achieve when working together in common interest areas.