Under the leadership and direct supervision of the Minister of Planning HE Dr. Ali Sindi, the Ministry of Planning in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) recently embarked on modernizing itspublic procurement system through a comprehensive and multi-faceted reform program supported by the World Bank. In line with the KRG 2020 Vision of ‘Effective, transparent, trusted and honest Government’, and as part of the 3-year economic reform plan aimed at “Achieving Shared Prosperity and Protecting the Vulnerable” launched in June 2016, the Government is exerting every effort to build an effective and socially accountable public procurement system that delivers quality services and supports the sustainable development of KRG
According to recent studies published by the World Bank, public procurement plays a key role in rationalizing public expenditures and in reinforcing accountability, fostering transparency and consequently contributing to sustainable development. It thus became imperative to address existing weaknesses and gaps through the adoption and implementation of a modern public procurement system covering all types and stages of procurement, and providing a full range of modern procurement techniques. In that respect, the Government emphasized the need to reform the public procurement system through developing a new legal framework based on clear and comprehensive provisions, the centerpiece being the new Procurement Regulation embodies a balanced, win-win approach to allocating risk and responsibilities between the public and private sectors. The new legal framework also specifies institutional arrangements related to the execution of contracts, development of policies at the central level and ensuring methodical supervision, as well as other provisions that reinforce transparency and accountability.
Given the importance that the KRG places on this issue, an inter-ministerial committee was formed, headed by the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Planning; Mr. Sherwan Qadir, for stakeholder inclusion in and close follow up of the public procurement modernization process. Several consultative workshops and focus group sessions were held with all concerned Government entities and private sector representatives to discuss the draft Regulation and draft Standard Bidding Documents (SBDs).
The new Regulation was officially issued by the Minister of Planning in January 2016, and became effective 150 days after being published in the KRG Official Gazette in February 2016. That was the culmination of extensive efforts exerted by the inter-ministerial committee over a period of 2 years, in addition to a series of discussions held with various Government entities and administrations which enriched the process, all under the direct supervision of the Minister of Planning and the Undersecretary.
To date, accomplishments in the area of modernizing the public procurement system in KRG can be summarized as follows:
· The KRG Government officially adopted the modern Public Procurement Regulation (Regulation #2 for 2016) defining the legal, institutional and procedural framework. The Regulation became effective in July 2016.
· The development and issuance of (7) Standard Bidding Documents and templates.
· Comprehensive capacity building programs on the new Regulation were delivered.
o (15) Training workshops on the new Regulation were organized for public sector representatives; including sessions aimed at training the trainers.
o (10) Training workshops on procurement for the private sector were organized in cooperation with the KRG Contractors' Federation.
o Public procurement was officially introduced in academic curricula, as 6 Diplomas on Public Procurement were awarded to professors from the Universities of SalahDeen and Sulimaniya.
· The development and dissemination of the “Doing Business with KRG” toolkit for the private sector to raise awareness on the new regulations.
· The production of an annex to the Procurement Regulation as part of the “Procurement under Public-Private partnership (PPP) Initiative”.
· The issuance of (7) explanatory notes on the new Procurement Regulation.
· The development of an e-Procurement strategy and a road map for implementation.
The Government of Kurdistan Region remains keen on activating the reform roadmap to better serve its people, and acknowledges the support of international development partners, particularly the World Bank, which values its strong relation with KRG.