…advertisement for the media houses expected to decline as capacity building for dzongkhags completes by June this year
Since the initiation of government’s e-government procurement (e-GP) system, 53 tenders have been floated through the system amounting to Nu 120M worth of goods and services.
A government order was issued in June last year announcing the piloting of e-GP in ministry of education and finance, works and human settlement ministry, and the dzongkhag administration of SamdrupJongkhar.
On March 6, the finance ministry issued another notification announcing the rolling out of e-GP in 11 dzongkhags, four ministries, and four regional offices of Department of Roads with ‘immediate effect’.
Both procuring agencies and bidders must be registered on the e-GP and the financial institution must facilitate the transactions
There are 398 registered clients as of date. Capacity building on e-GP for six dzongkhags will be completed by May 1. The remaining will be completed by June this year.
In an email response channeled through the Prime Minister’s office, officials from the finance ministry stated: “It is not mandatory to register if contractors or suppliers do not want to participate in government tender.”
In addition, corporate bodies like Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) and Bhutan Telecom are implementing the e-procurement on trial. So far, the corporate bodies using e-GP have floated two tenders.
“The financial institutions are already using and facilitating any payments related to e-GP like bid security, performance security and bank guarantee,” the finance ministry response stated.
However, the bottom line is that contractors, suppliers and consultants vying to secure bids on works, goods and services should register with e-procurement.
Government Procurement and Property Management Division (GPPMD) of Department of National Properties also provided training for the bidders.
There are about 4,200 civil work contractors, 1,500 suppliers, and 380 consultants.
It is estimated that the government will float about 3,000 procurement work a year with an annual growth percentage of 10 percent. It is also estimated that there are about 15,000 bidders who would ultimately use the e-GP system against 1,000 procuring agencies using the same system.
Once the users, both the procuring agencies and bidders get registered, the e-GP website will display news and advertisements of procurement opportunities of government agencies, which can be sorted and filtered. The website will also publish circulars, amendments, instructions related to Public Procurement and it will display award notifications and details of the winning bidder.
On the selection of the successful bidder, procuring agencies will have to publish the award notice in e-GP, including the name and address of the bidder, bid amount and status of the contract.
e-GP system will also be integrated with the Department of Civil and Census Registration System to verify the authenticity of personal information of procuring agencies and bidders.
The revenue administration management information system (RAMIS), licenses registration system, Bhutan InfoCom and Media Authority (BICMA), and the Drug Regulatory Authority (DRA) are other agencies would be involved in the verification process. The e-GP will automatically disallow uploading a bid if the documents are found invalid.
e-GP cycle includes invitation of bids, opening, evaluation and award. The evaluation will be done by the nominated evaluation committee who would login with their user credential to get access to bidding documents.
e-GP is found to be necessary because the traditional procedures were found to be limiting the scope for competition and often require strict internal control and approval procedures that make the procurement process less efficient and more cumbersome, making it for a longer delivery time and higher cost.
Higher the cost of preparing and submitting a tender, the higher will be the cost of goods and services.
e-GP is, therefore, expected to bring about transparency and efficiency in procurement of goods, services and save cost for the government.
Adverse impact will be felt by the media organisations given the fact that government advertisement pertaining to invitation of bids is one of largest source of revenue. This comes at a time when media houses in the country are raising issue with regard to sustainability.
Finance ministry stated that the introduction of e-GP would result in abridged version of advertisement and that the traditional form of full advertisement may not happen as the details would be posted on e-GP system. “Once the tender is posted in the system, the system will trigger email and SMS to the registered contractors and suppliers,” the finance ministry’s response stated.
This also comes at a time when the Media Association of Bhutan and Journalist Association of Bhutan jointly submitted a five-point petition to the government to ensure sustainability.
Among others, the government has decided to support 50 percent of the printing cost for two years for the private papers.
The government has also directed the ministry of information and communications to look at the possibility of introducing tender system for awarding advertisement to private media with a set of criteria such as circulation, reach, pricing and other factors.
“Alternatively, MoIC should work at enabling a system of collecting the price from media houses and giving it to agencies so that agencies can opt for media houses that they prefer,” the letter from the Cabinet Secretary to MoIC secretary stated.