|Workshop in Ulaanbaatar|
Public Procurement Policy Workshop in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
The Ministry of Finance of Mongolia, the EBRD and UNCITRAL hosted a two-day policy dialogue workshop in Ulaanbaatar on 6-7 June 2013, to identify potential areas for improvement in the Mongolian procurement regime and present tools of the 2011 UNCITRAL Model Law to help the government tackle problems. Mongolia amended its law on public procurement in 2011 and a central purchasing body, the Government Procurement Agency, was created and the new position of procurement state inspector was established – this role is to oversee implementation of the operations. Mongolia has also started to examine introducing e-procurement.
Key participants were Gantsogt Khurelbaatar (State Secretary, Ministry of Finance), Aza Ulziitogtokh (acting head, resident EBRD office in Ulaanbaatar), Caroline Nicholas (senior lawyer, UNCITRAL), Khangai Enkhtsogt (director general, Legal and Procurement Policy Dept, Ministry of Finance), Enkhjargal Damdin (director, Government Procurement Agency), Gerelgua Tserendagva (World Bank), Jamsranjav Battsengel (Asian Development Bank, ADB), Prof. Christopher Yukins (George Washington University Law School), Eliza Niewiadomska (Legal Transition Programme, EBRD), Larissa Kokareva and Jargalan Avkhia (EBRD UNCITRAL Initiative), Irina Goncharova (representative, World Bank in Kyrgyz), Eric Guetschoff (resident EBRD office in Mongolia) and Anna Caroline Müller (WTO).
On day one, there was a presentation on the current state of Mongolia’s public procurement system, the institutional framework in Mongolia, and the reform agenda. Digitalisation of the procurement process is intended to be finalised by 2016. The GPA handles information on the procurement process, including tender documents, and provides legal advice. The World Bank overview of its involvement in the reforms highlighted systemic and procedural challenges such as corruption, lack of transparency and low efficiency, while the ADB pointed out the main constraints and possible solutions. There was a discussion on mechanisms for transparency and competition. A key challenge to ensure these is information asymmetry between the procuring entity and suppliers, different methods of reconciling, monitoring and sanctions. A session on revision of the legal diagnostic focused on identifying the gaps between the existing public procurement law and regulation compared with the 2011 UNCITRAL Model Law and best practices. Lastly, there was a general discussion of the proposed reform recommendations, which stressed the importance of modernisation and increasing the efficiency of the PP system to achieve the best possible value for money.
Day two began with a look at public procurement in the Kyrgyz Republic and presentation of a project funded by the EU focusing on SME development, including SME involvement in procurement processes. The next discussion identified areas for additional improvements, such as training. There was a WTO presentation concentrated on the Plurilateral Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), then the benefits of e-procurement as outlined in the 2011 UNCITRAL Model Law were presented. The final discussion focused on the initiation of the EBRD UNCITRAL technical cooperation project work plan. The local representatives were encouraged to identify the key areas where technical cooperation would be of interest to them, such as e-procurement. A follow-up meeting was agreed, the role of which would be to identify the aspects of possible technical cooperation with a view to further improving the public procurement environment and regulation in the country.