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FEATURE STORY

More transparency in World Bank and IDB financed projects in the Dominican Republic

December 17, 2012


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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Anyone will be able to access to information on projects financed by the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
  • This online tool means the opening for all society to see processes that generally are perceived as little transparent.
  • The tool is useful also for the private sector, which will be able to see the procurement plans for future projects.

In the Dominican Republic, when funds are assigned to projects financed by the World Bank and the IDB, any citizen can exactly know where the money goes. This is possible thanks to the System for Execution of Procurement Plans (SEPA in Spanish), a website that permits to observe in real time if a procurement plan is being followed as originally approved.

SEPA launched this week in the Dominican Republic during an event attended by civil society representatives, the private sector, and the media, as well as government officials and specialists from the government agencies in charge of implementing the projects.

The Dominican Republic joins other countries in the Latin America and Caribbean region that increasingly demand information and transparency in their procurement processes.

The people have control

"There is a marked perception in our countries that the procurement processes lack transparency and openness,” explains Catherine Abreu, procurement specialist for the World Bank in the country. 

“Tools like SEPA put the control in the hand of citizens, who can easily monitor if a process based on the original plan is executed or not,” adds Abreu.

“It is about having people get involved,” says Nikolai Sviedrys, the regional coordinator of this tool. “Now the information is available for all, they can generate management reports, and review any process in real time,” he adds.

For Anniuska Castillo, leader of “Mirando lo mio”, a group that specializes in social auditing of public policies, the most innovating aspect of SEPA is that civil society monitors the use of resources, while the private sector is able to see the future procurement plans for each project. 

In other words if one makes the most of the system and its advantages and all the information it contains, this platform could raise business opportunities for professionals interested in goods and services.


" Tools like SEPA put the control in the hand of citizens, who can easily monitor if a process based on the original plan is executed or not. "
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Catherine Abreu

Procurement Specialist - World Bank

A participatory process.

When it comes to development projects, besides the beneficiaries, there is also the implementers. “SEPA gives me the responsibility to be increasingly efficient and transparent in project resource management," says Lourdes Montás, procurement head for the Health Reform Project implemented by the Health Ministry and funded by the World Bank.

Montás is committed and aware of her responsibility to citizens, as “SEPA is efficient in offering public access to development project contracts in Latin America.

The version of SEPA launched in the country is the result of recommendations and suggestions made by the different groups of users in order to make it a more friendly and easy to use.

In the same way, in the last months many meetings have been held with the procurement specialists in the project implementation agencies in the country, in order to help them get familiar with the webpage.

Mcdonald Benjamin, World Bank representative in the Dominican Republic, explained that SEPA raises the efficiency in the management and follow up of purchases and contracts in World Bank and IDB projects in the Dominican Republic. 

“This system contributes to the accomplishing of the Millennium Development Goals by way of harmonizing the procurement processes between the World Bank and IDB,” said Benjamin.

The launch event was attended by Mcdonald Benjamín and Manuel Labrado, representatives of the the World Bank and the IDB in the country, respectively; Catherine Abreu, procurement specialist in the Dominican Republic, and Nikolai Sviedrys, regional system coordinator.

SEPA is active in several countries in the region including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico. There are currently 400 active projects with more than 2,000 users in the region.


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