Published Date: Feb 14, 2019
Experts from various sectors on Wednesday called for revising the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules to increase competition and improve development effectiveness.
Participants at a panel discussion on ‘Open Data Systems for Development Effectiveness in Pakistan’ noted that there are several shortcomings in the PPRA Rules and that greater efficiency and effectiveness is needed in federal and provincial development budget outlays.
The discussion was organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).
Competition Commission of Pakistan Director General Ahmed Qadir said some PPRA clauses prevent open competition.
He said one of the major goals of public procurement is good value for the government, which can be ensured through vigorous competition.
“Annually, Pakistan is losing Rs1.38 trillion in its public procurement, which can be saved through an effective and efficient procurement system,” he said, adding that a holistic approach is needed that includes all stakeholders to improve public procurement in the country.
Govt does not have specialist to materialise procurements in an efficient manner, PPRA official says
Officials representing the PPRA acknowledged weaknesses in the government system amid severe criticism from all the participants.
PPRA Monitoring and Evaluation Deputy Director Asim Jalil said a big challenge is that the government does not have procurement specialist to materialise procurements in an efficient and effective manner.
“The government lacks infrastructure, where the data of thousands of contractors can be maintained effectively,” he admitted, adding that a mechanism needs to be developed where everyone, including government institutions can be held accountable.
Information Technology and Tax Acceleration Growth and Regulation chief Syeda Adeela Bokhari, whose firm is working on restructuring Pakistan Revenue Automation and moving towards integrating data systems for various government departments, said the biggest challenge is to check and control kick-backs in the procurement process.
Senior procurement specialist Rehan Hyder suggested that all public institutions need to open up their data and make active disclosures of all tenders to the public. Greater advocacy and public awareness is also needed on public procurements.
SDPI Joint Executive Director Dr Vaqar Ahmed said Pakistan needs to increase the availability of free information and data on national statistics, particularly related to government budgets, procurements, operation of state-owned enterprises, land ownership records and so on.
“Open data systems of public procurement and spending from the federal public sector development programme and the provinces can enhance the effectiveness of government spending,” he added.
He added that financial leakages can be curtailed if procurement information available with the PPRA, Accountant General of Pakistan Revenues and the National Accountability Bureau can be shared, integrated and made available to the public.