Public Procurement specialists from across emerging Europe and Central Asia met in Bucharest from May 8-10 to share experiences and best-practices in reforming public procurement, with a special focus on innovative procurement systems that can support national development priorities. The meeting was part of a cross-regional cooperation platform known as the Procurement, Integrity, Management and Openness (PRIMO) Forum, which brought together around 100 procurement officials from 24 countries including Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Bulgaria.
Procurement is currently evolving from a transactional process to a strategic function that supports the implementation of national development strategies and policies. Many governments are exploring beyond conventional procurement practices and discussing how they can innovate in procurement to deliver sustainable development and social results.
“Client countries of the World Bank increasingly view public procurement as a strategic function and as a central means to effectively and efficiently deliver needed services to citizens. To this end, and in a time of limited fiscal space, the countries are now more serious about achieving Value for Money (VfM) in procurement. The World Bank shares this vision and is committed to accompany them in their journey”, said Vinay Sharma, director in the governance global practice, World Bank. “To support these objectives, the Bank has introduced a new procurement framework which aligns with the overarching principles of value for money, fit for purpose, economy, efficiency and integrity for sustainable outcomes. Across the entire ECA region, we see our role as helping countries strengthen and professionalise their public procurement system in line with best practices.”
The main objectives of this year’s PRIMO Forum were twofold. First, to provide an opportunity for public procurement agencies of participating countries to learn and share their experiences and practices in public procurement reforms, with a special focus on innovation in public procurement and development of a procurement strategy. Second, to promote and foster regional and global cooperation and networking in increasing the efficiency of public procurement and good governance for better public service delivery.
This year’s host, Romania, has made some important steps in reforming its public procurement system, through the introduction of an improved e-procurement system, and a web-based guide, which provides a set of tools and templates to help Romanian authorities navigate more efficiently the entire procurement cycle. Nevertheless, the professionalisation of the procurement function, the introduction of innovative procurement and centralization and strategic use of public procurement remain important reform items for many countries across the ECA region.
The event was co-sponsored by the Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank, and organised in cooperation with the European Investment Bank, OECD and UNICTRAL.