Colombo, February 20, 2017— Today, Sri Lanka welcomed the Heads of Public Procurement Agencies or Authorities of eight South Asian countries to the Fourth South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference. The conference was inaugurated by H.E President Maithripala Sirisena.
The theme of the conference, “E-GP in South Asia – Achievements, Opportunities and Challenges,” throws the spotlight on how E-Government Procurement can support countries in boosting the efficiency, transparency and competitiveness of their public procurement systems.
While South Asian countries find themselves at different stages in the introduction and operationalizing of E-GP systems, it is seen as a tool that not only enables strategic public procurement, but can provide a wealth of data that feeds back into the steady improvement and increasing effectiveness of E-GP services.
Addressing the gathering, Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka said: “At the World Bank, we are committed to procurement reforms with a view to improving market efficiency and better service delivery.” She added, “It is well understood, and illustratable with examples from many parts of the world, that weak procurement systems steer investments away from development and hence minimize the impact on poverty reduction and shared prosperity.”
The Colombo conference is the fourth in a series of South Asia Region Public Procurement Conferences. The first installment was in Kathmandu, Nepal in April 2011, the second in Islamabad, Pakistan in March 2014, and the most recent in Dhaka, Bangladesh in November 2015.
The Conference is an important feature of the evolving South Asia Region Public Procurement Network (SARPPN). During this Conference, the winners of the first ever South Asia Procurement Innovation Awards 2016-17 will also be felicitated for their winning papers.
The Fourth South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference is being hosted by the Department of Public Finance, Ministry of Finance, Government of Sri Lanka, and the conference is co‐sponsored by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Islamic Development Bank. After the inauguration in Colombo, the conference now moves to Kandy till February 23, where there will be more in-depth technical sessions. The final output of the Conference will take the form of an action plan to track progress in this specific area.