Building Skills for e-Procurement in Tajikistan
The Government of Tajikistan wanted to keep up with the growth of e-governance as well as reform its public procurement system. Through the exchange with Malaysia, experts from Tajikistan learned about the importance of improving efficiency and transparency in the public procurement process. The Government of Tajikistan also increased its capacity to develop and implement reforms, including e-procurement practices.
The Government of Tajikistan sought to continually reform and modernize its public procurement processes. It saw the need for a system that keeps up with economic growth and e-governance and, as such, was mindful of the need for efficiency and transparency in the public procurement system. Since 1995 the Government has worked to evolve the system and is moving forward with decentralization by capacity building and modernizing through e-procurement. Major steps taken during this period include developing an Agency of State Procurement of Goods, Works, and Services (ASP) and an e-Procurement Plan for 2013-2015; and working with the World Bank on the Public Finance Modernization Project to assist it with this goal.
However, despite significant progress, the Government‘s challenge remains one of having a clear strategy and sufficient technical skills, knowledge, and vision in place to design and implement its e-procurement and broader public sector modernization agenda.
The Government of Tajikistan requested World Bank assistance in supporting an exchange with Malaysia, a country that has had success in developing an effective and efficient public procurement system, including e-procurement. The Government hoped to learn from Malaysia’s successes in promoting and enlisting greater participation from key stakeholders such as civil servants, bidders, auditors, and others in the e-procurement process. They also hoped to learn from Malaysia’s experiences demonstrating efficiency gains and transparency in e-government procurement implementation.
Participating in the exchange were Tajik government officials who play key roles in supporting the public procurement agenda from the Agency of State Procurement and the Executive Office of the President. From Malaysia, participants comprised representatives of the Ministry of Finance; Commerce Dot Com Sdn Bhd, the developer and operator with exclusive rights to the government’s e-procurement system, ePerolehan; as well as representatives of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). During the study tour in Malaysia, November 20-21, 2013, Tajik officials and experts visited e-procurement facilities and engaged in dialogue and shared good practice approaches. They visited the Ministry of Finance and Commerce Dot Com Sdn Bhd.
Following the study tour, experts from Malaysia visited Tajikistan to offer on-site consultation and share experiences. Two knowledge dissemination workshops were conducted, one in Dushanbe and another in Kurgan-Tyube. At these workshops, a team of Malaysian experts and representatives of the Tajikistan’s Agency of State Procurement presented informational material from their learning experience on the study tours. Two experts from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) initiative participated in the dissemination campaign.
The exchange increased the participants understanding of the importance of efficiency and effectiveness of a public procurement system:
- Enhanced knowledge of good practice, opportunities, and challenges of e-procurement implementation. Sector leaders learned what specific steps should be taken to prepare and introduce a strategy on e-government procurement. The leaders were able to draft such a plan. According to one participant: “We did research and learned that Malaysia is among the top in the world in regards to Government Electronic Procurement. We need[ed] to see how a developing nation like Malaysia could be ranked so high in implementing such as system.”
- Enhanced networks. The two countries initiated development of a formal agreement on partner relationships and a platform to exchange experience, ideas, and good practice. The MoU between agencies responsible for e-procurement development in the respective countries was signed on February 28, 2014, and provided for collaboration in areas such as knowledge sharing, conducting joint activities, training and workshops, and joint research that will continually enhance the Government of Tajikistan’s ability to modernize its e-procurement system.
“The knowledge exchange program was a great success and was concluded with a working Memorandum of Understanding among the related parties” - Syed Azmin Syed Nor, Executive Chairman, CDCSB, Malaysia.
- Raised awareness on the challenges of implementing e-procurement policies and procedures, and steps to overcome those challenges. This awareness resulted in Tajikistan revising its relevant policies to reflect Malaysia’s experiences.
- Exchanges such as this could have deeper impact if more than two countries are connected. For instance, this exchange could have been enhanced if it had engaged the Government of Tajikistan with for instance Malaysia and Georgia.
- Stakeholders should take the lead in bringing on political support from their respective countries to ensure long-term benefit instead of engaging only at a technical level.
- Technical expert (as consultant), included in the knowledge exchange programs, can help with post-exchange development of strategic and policy planning.
This exchange was supported by funds from the South-South Facility and also included Bank expertise in facilitating contacts between knowledge providers and recipients. Bank procurement experts were involved in the delivery of workshops and providing other technical expertise during the exchange. The Bank also provided technical consultants to assist with review of the draft Tajik e-Government Procurement Strategy developed after the exchange.
The Malaysia knowledge providers included representatives from the Public Procurement Department and E-Procurement Department of the Ministry of Finance. It also included representatives of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, Construction Industry Board, Ministry of Health, and Commerce Dot Com Sdn Bhd. Additional expertise was provided by the IsDB Regional Office in Kuala Lumpur and the EBRD/UNCITRAL Initiative.
As a result of the exchange, the Government of Tajikistan made strides in the development of its e-procurement roadmap, which has generated interest among potential donors to increase investment in Tajikistan’s public procurement modernization. The Tajik participants also plan to share their expanded knowledge with the Public Procurement Agency (PPA) employees and put information on the PPA website.
Participating in the exchange were officials playing key roles in supporting the public sector procurement agenda:
- Faiz Nazarov, Head of E-Procurement Department, Agency of State Procurement of Goods, Works, and Services
- Dr. Muhibali Safarov, Advisor on Economic Policy, Executive Office of the President
- Aminjon Mulloev, Specialist of E-Procurement Department, Agency of State Procurement of Goods, Works, and Services
- Zamira Odinaeva, Head of General Department, Agency of State Procurement of Goods, Works, and Services
- Mansur Hojiboboev, Director, LLC BIT
- Jahongir Munzim, World Bank, Freelance Interpreter
- Malaysia Press Release: Tajikistan Looks to ePerolehan Malaysia for Inspiration
- Press Release: World Bank Supported Initiative Promotes Effective Public Procurement System_3 March 2014
- World Bank Continues Supporting Public Financial Management Reforms in Tajikistan: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2015/06/01/world-bank-continues-supporting-public-financial-management-reforms-in-tajikistan