GIS – 29 September, 2015: The Procurement Policy Office which operates under the aegis of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, launched the Government e-Procurement System (e-PS) yesterday at Hennessy Park Hotel, Ebene. The e-PS is a web based application that will enable all public bodies and suppliers to electronically conduct procurement proceedings from invitation to bid up to contract award.
The e-procurement system will help, among others, to catalyse transformation of the public sector in modernising the way public bodies carry out procurement tasks; lower transaction costs in moving from paper to digital and improve decision making by flattening bureaucracy and breaking silos; and generate efficiency gains at industry level, for both the organisation and suppliers.
With the introduction of the e-PS application, the Mauritius Police Force is the pioneer public organisation to use the e-PS by launching the first online bid for the purchase of IT equipment. By November 2015, eight other public bodies will issue bids online, and by July 2016, most of the high spending public bodies are expected to join the system.
In his address, the Minister of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms, Mr Alain Wong Yen Cheong, who was present at the ceremony, stated that public procurement has always been an important area of activity for Government since public sector organisations spend huge sums of money for the procurement of goods, works and services to provide amongst others education, health, electricity, transportation, infrastructure and for maintaining law and order so as to deliver on the Government programme, not only to create the environment for inclusive economic growth but also promote citizens’ welfare.
For the year 2014, public contracts worth more than Rs 16.7 billion were approved using the traditional paper based procurement system. In the same year, 5 940 contracts for goods, works and services (each above Rs 100 000) were signed. Out of 32 290 bids processed, only 65 % were responsive. The remaining 35% were non responsive for reasons varying from unsigned and missing documents to inappropriately filled bids. All this, said the Minister, depicts the magnitude of transactions involved in the tender procedures that have to be handled manually.
The e-procurement system will guide the supplier on each step in filling of bids and thus improve the level of bid responsiveness in a bidding exercise. For instance, based on the value of contracts approved, a one percent efficiency gain coupled with reduction in use of paper could generate savings of up to Rs 167 million. This is indeed a significant amount the more so as public resources are scarce, underlined Mr Wong Yen Cheong.
Government also uses public procurement to promote its sectoral policies. According to him, SMEs access to public procurement market is improved through their benefiting from margins of preference when bidding for public contracts. For instance in 2014, the value of contracts awarded to SMEs amounted to Rs 1.3 billion. Their share in public contract can be definitely increased by improving their access to public contracts through e-procurement, he added.
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