Sri Lanka is considering the introduction of an Electronic Government Procurement (e-GP) system following the establishment of an Independent Procurement Commission under the 19th Amendment of the Constitution.
“The government recognizes the usefulness of implementation of Electronic Government Procurement (e-GP) system which could help increased transparency, easy access to information, increased competition and lower cost. The World Bank, ADB and other development partners recommend the introduction of electronic procurement as they are willing to provide technical assistance to implement e-GP in Sri Lanka,” the Annual Report 2014 of the Ministry of Finance has stated.
The report notes that passing and implementing a procurement law is significant as existence of such law will lead to establish greater transparency and accountability which help improve stakeholders’ trust in the system, increase competition through wide participation, enhance efficiency and savings in procurement operations and to improve country’s image internationally with regard to public procurement. This would help address many weaknesses in the Procurement process.
“One of the main purposes of establishment of Independent Procurement Commission is to early implementation of e-GP in Sri Lanka and it could be realized under the technical assistance of the development partners,” the report added.
Public procurement is a critical arm of the government‘s financial management strategy since over 25 percent of the National Budget is spent through Public Procurement system. It is expected that the successful implementation of procurement reforms will have an impact on the country’s economy and subsequent development of the private sector as the government is the single largest purchaser in the country.
Public procurement in Sri Lanka is not regulated by a law but governed by regulatory framework, including the procurement guidelines (for goods, works and services and for Selection and Employment of Consultants) providing guiding principles and scope of coverage to ensure transparent and accountable procurements. Since these guidelines do not provide framework consisting of special legislation under which public procurement has to be functioned, in the recent past public procurement was criticized as a means of mismanagement of the tax payers’ money.