HA NOI — A three-year pilot project to streamline public procurement processes by making online tender offers continued to face obstacles related to inadequate regulations and technologies, said the director of the Ministry of Planning and Investment's public procurement agency, Le Van Tang.
During 2009-11, the ministry coordinated with relevant agencies to guide pilot projects at the Ha Noi People's Committee, the Viet Nam Post and Telecommunications (VNPT) Group, and Electricity of Viet Nam, among others. Under the projects, about 55 contract packages were offered for bid online at the website http://muasamcong.mpi.gov.vn, said Tang.
The electronic procurement system demonstrated the Government's determination to boost transparency and minimise corruption in public spending, said Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong.
However, Tang said, while the model had significantly increased convenience for both investors and contractors in approaching each other, several barriers remained to the process. The technological capacities of tender-related parties were unequal, meaning that human resource training and guidance programmes would be needed if the model were to be expanded more widely.
The legal validity of electronic materials like digital documents and signature was also a puzzle, he said.
To continue to expand the online tendering system, Tang said, the public procurement agency planned to implement a new project of applying e-commerce in Government procurement under the form of a public-private partnership (PPP) – with consultants, investors and contractors expected to be selected in this month.
He said there was a need to raise the awareness of investors about the effectiveness of online tender, as well as the need to improve technological infrastructure.
He suggested specific stipulations about the proportion of tenders that should be made online, e.g., a local goverment must place 30 per cent of projects for tender online and strive for 40 per cent or more in some years afterwards. Sanctions could be taken into account to have this done, he added.
According to the Government's online newspaper baodientu.chinhphu.vn, countries that implement tenders online could save 3-20 per cent of the costs of a contract package. The total value of contracts implemented in accordance with the Law on Tendering amounts to about 20 per cent of Viet Nam's gross domestic product (GDP), or over US$20 billion a year. — VNS