E-procurement implementation Coming to Nepalese context

There is much to be done in Nepal for good governance. As a developing country, a major portion of Nepal’s annual budget is used in the procurement of works, goods, and services. Hence, it becomes important to give more emphasis on these activities in order to accomplish them in a transparent and efficient manner. It is well known to all that the project executing departments suffer especially in procurement processes. Physical threats to bidders, cartel formation, suppressed competition, pressures on department officials, inordinate delays in tender finalization, human interface, manipulations, tampering, inadequate transparency, adverse press coverage on tender fracas are the most common incidences that happens during the procurement processes. A recent incident during the tendering process happened in the Trichandra College throws a very sad example of getting our young citizens involved in the illegal and unsocial activities. This shows how deeply rooted corruption is in the procurement process in the country.

Nepal alone is not facing such problems but there are other countries also that have faced such incidences. The difference is that they have learnt lessons from mistakes and cleared the hurdles, whereas we have been watching helplessly.

India has devised and implemented E-procurement system in order to overcome all these unfortunate incidences. Over 75 per cent of budget is spent through the procurement process. Thus e-procurement system should be considered as one of the major components of good governance. To launch this system it demands a political decision with honest commitment as a prime requirement. Like in India, it started with a strong will power and great sense of accountability of the then chief minister of Andhra Pradesh (India), Mr. Chandra Babu Naidu.

To bring his words in practice he applied SMART as a strategic tool, which is abbreviation of Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent Government backed by e-governance. He very well knew the importance of the technology in fostering good governance. That is why he could be successful in using Information Technology for this purpose.

Mr. Naidu didn’t only implement the system in his state but could be successful in developing his system as exemplary in India and abroad. It was possible only due to his wide political vision and strong commitment as well as bureaucratic honesty and dedication. Due to this achievement the state has been able to perform the procurement worth about IRs. 15 thousand crores in the last

year without any hassle

and controversy.

The success of the model is also exemplary to the rest of the developing countries. The special features of this model are that there is no capital cost to the state and the risk is equally shared combining accountability with efficiency. The partner designed, developed and launched the application under the guidelines fixed by the government with an agreement for one year as pilot program to be implemented by four departments only. This business model PPP started with special features of payment modality. The bidders do not have to pay for any bidding fees like document costs and bid security like we do in Nepal. In this modality the service provider and the beneficiaries are doing well without any complaints and the users are increasing every year. The major benefits demonstrated after implementation of the system

can be listed as the cost savings to a tune of IRs

3700 crores accounting to economy in advertising and other procedural expenses, improved efficiency (120 days to 32 days) in finalizing the tenders, transparency, elimination of contractor cartels, empowerment

of bidders, remote submission of bids, reduced bidding and incidental costs and dependence on departmental officials.

Transparency, which is one of the main objectives of good governance, is achieved through this system as it enables automatic e-mail to bidders on tender publication, bid documents available on net in public domain, corrigendum in public domain, no interface with departments up to tender opening, support documents are open to competitive bidders soon after

tender opening, tender evaluation status automatically notified to bidders, procurement status in

public domain.

Department of Roads of our country has also started e-procurement by implementing e-submission of bids after a public notice on BS 2064/8/24. This is not a complete replacement

of the traditional bidding methods as it is not mandatory. This only enables

a bidder to submit their tenders through public domain provided by the Department of Roads

at www.dor.gov.np but at the same time the bidder has to submit their hardcopy documents to the department, which is mandatory. There is no omission of the bidding fees. This process can be taken as a first step towards implementation of a complete e-procurement system.

Mr. Shah is a Mechanical Engineer working with the Department of Roads as a Coordinator of MIS/IT