Eighth Regional Public Procurement Forum
Tirana, May 22, 2012
On behalf of the World Bank office in Albania, it is my great pleasure to welcome you in Tirana at 8th Regional Public Procurement Forum.
Let me start by joining Minister Pollo in expressing, on behalf of all my World Bank colleagues, our sorrow for the loss of lives in a tragic road accident that happened yesterday, and deepest sympathy and condolences to the families, as well as in wishing speedy recovery to those young people who are now in the hospital.
I would like to thank the Government of Albania, HE Minister for Innovation and for Information and Communication Technology Mr. Genc Pollo, and the Head of the Public Procurement Agency, Ms Klodiana Cankja for hosting the Forum this year.
I extend gratitude to the co-sponsors of the Forum - the Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Islamic Development Bank - for helping make this Forum possible.
I would like to warmly thank and welcome our distinguished guests from the 14 countries for their interest in this event, as well as the key speakers from various institutions. It is the exchange of your experiences, observations and lessons that will make this Forum special and useful, and I encourage you all to be active participants of this exchange.
I also hope that in addition to participating in a very intense and interesting agenda of this Forum, you - and particularly many of you who visit Albania for the first time - will find some time over the week to enjoy the charm of Tirana and to better understand and appreciate your host country, Albania, a wonderful land of friendly, open and committed people.
Public procurement is very important to all participating countries as well as to financing institutions. With good international public procurement system, countries would be able to use their financial resources in a more efficient and transparent way, and bring greater benefits to their people. And the international financial institutions would use more and more the country procurement system in implementing projects they finance.
The focus on this Forum is on electronic procurement. It is a recent tool used by a number of countries countries to increase the efficiency and transparency in procurement. More and more countries move towards using e-procurement in their practice.
There is no coincidence that this Forum is held in Albania. The Government in Albania made impressive progress in e-procurement since electronic procedures were first piloted in 2008 and fully used e-procurement for the public budget in 2009. Albania is one of the first countries in the region which has implemented the e-procurement so fast on such a large scale.
The World Bank is helping the Public Procurement Agency for improving its electronic procurement system and, after a careful assessment has agreed to pilot using e-procurement in one of its project, the Local and Secondary Roads. By now, this pilot proved to be successful. It is the first country in ECA to pilot using e-procurement in a Bank-financed project. I hope that other countries will find this pilot useful and may be interested in piloting e-procurement under Bank financed operations.
Let me also note that e-procurement is an important step towards improving efficiency and transparency, but it is not the solution on its own to all the challenges that sometimes undermine the effectiveness and credibility of the public procurement systems. The need to strengthen oversight, capacities, and technical competencies remains, albeit it may take a different form. I encourage you to share lessons and approaches in these areas as well.
I wish you a very successful Forum that will help you with undertaking public procurement reforms in your countries.