FM inaugurates the Fifth South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference in national capital
INVC NEWS New Delhi, The Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs ArunJaitley stressed on the importance of procedural fairness in public procurement and award of contracts. The Finance Minister said that this can be ensured through transparency and fairness that enable a State to act in the best interest for its citizens in terms of price, quality and service delivery and help avoid elements of nepotism and corruption in public procurement. The Finance Minister highlighted the special measures taken by the Government of India to bring in greater transparency, fairness and efficiency in public procurement through a series of measures including launch of the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) for online purchases of common use items. The Finance Minister mentioned that in addition to having its own rules and regulations relating to public procurement in the Government, the layers of accountability at various levels in the Government have also been tightened. The Finance Minister, Shri Jaitley was delivering the Inaugural Address after inaugurating the 5th South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference here in New Delhi. He noted the evolution of public procurement in the last century and emphasized its significance in delivery of public services in democratic societies in the larger interest of the citizens. Shri Jaitley said that as South Asia is the fastest growing region, the relevance of public procurement is of key importance to all. Mr. Jaitleywished the Conference a success and hoped that the deliberations would be of mutual interest and benefit to all the participants. On a finishing note Mr. Jaitley expressed his interest in the best practices that would emerge from the deliberations between the participants. He congratulated the World Bank, Asian Development Bank(ADB) and other partners for organising such an event. This Conference is being attended by the Senior Government Officials of South Asian countries in addition to the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank(ADB), Islamic Development Bank(IDB) and other agencies. Earlier, Shri. Ajay Narayan Jha, Secretary (Expenditure) delivered the welcome address on this occasion. The Government of India (GOI), through the Public Procurement Division (PPD) of the Ministry of Finance and All India Management Association (AIMA) are hosting the Conference. The objective of the Conference is to enable the Heads of Public Procurement and other key stakeholders in the eight South Asian countries to meet and learn from one another and from experts in the field of public procurement. The knowledge thus acquired would help various South Asian Governments to consider enhancements and innovations in their public procurement systems, enabling efficient utilization of public resources, ensuring quality and timeliness in delivery of services. The Conference is held under the auspices of the South Asia Region Public Procurement Network (SARPPN), which is sponsored and facilitated by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank. The First Conference was held in Kathmandu in 2010, the second in Islamabad in 2014, the third in Dhaka 2015 and the fourth in Sri Lanka 2017. All the Conferences helped achieve the above mentioned mutual knowledge exchange and learning objectives. In between these annual events, the World Bank facilitates, via Video Conferences, meetings of the SAR Heads of public procurement for continuous exchange of knowledge and experiences through discussions of topics of interest. The World Bank has also been sponsoring country knowledge exchange programs for the SAR heads of public procurement. Such programs have already been successfully organized in Brazil and Mexico (2014), Australia (2016), and USA (2017). These knowledge exchange programs not only provide an opportunity for the heads of public procurement to learn from the countries with well-advanced public procurement systems, but also to learn from one another. The Fifth South Asia Region Public Procurement Conferencebeing held in New Delhi, February 5-7, 2018, will continue with the SARPPN overarching goal of providing a learning and networking platform to SAR heads of public procurement and procurement professionals and to exchange their knowledge and experiences on topics that would help them improve their public procurement systems. The theme of the Fifth Conference “Public Procurement and Service Delivery” is appropriate and timely as the governments of all the countries in the region strive to improve their public procurement to ensure timely and quality delivery of public services. All eight SAR countries spend approximately US$550 billion equivalent on public procurement of goods, works and services, which eventually convert to public services. The Fifth Conference will deliberate upon key aspects of public procurement that help ensure delivery of these services; and identify and address areas that need improvement. Procurement of health and education services, enhancing oversight in public procurement through complaints mechanism, audits, etc., role of ICT and PPP in public procurement, etc., will figure in various sessions in this 3 day conference. Government officers in charge of public procurement will also share their country experiences during the conference, enabling discussion on best practices. About 100 participants who include senior government officials responsible for public procurement and related fields, are attending the Conference. The representatives of Development Partners (DPs) active in South Asian countries and resource persons are also among the participants. During the Conference, the SARPPN along with ADB, WB, IsDB and Procurement iNET is holding a ceremony to honor the winners of the South Asia Procurement Innovation Awards (SAPIA) 2017 for their winning submissions.