The Government Procurement Agency – one year on
The Government Procurement Agency was established by the Mongolian government's Resolution No. 6 in August 2012, within the Deputy Prime Minister's scope as part of the Government for Change's reform policy. The GPA is a professional implementing agency in charge of organizing purchasing goods, works and services with state and local state funds. The GPA launched on 4 October 2012 and has 65 employees.
Since then, the GPA has established 31 branches with a staff of 193 people who manage state purchasing in the provinces, the capital and rural areas.
The agency carries out many important activities that concern both citizens and business entities.
Picture: Government Implementation Agency: The Government Procurement Agency
1. Improving the legal environment
Finalization of the draft law for the "Purchase of goods, works and services with state and local state funds", which was submitted to the Ministry of Finance for debate during the parliament's autumn session.
Approval of Resolution No. 115, "procedures for organization, implementation and monitoring of state purchasing activities", by the government in on 3 November 2012.
Resolution on the establishment of local branches, adopted at the cabinet meeting of 30 November 2012.
Approval of the Minister of Finance's Resolution No. 7, "procedures for e-tender organization" in 2013.
A list of 625 tasks and 330 specifications to be implemented by GPA was approved under Resolution No. 131 on 17 November 2012.
The agency has completed 90% of its projects: 276 signed contracts (44%), 61 contract signing notices sent (10%), 98 ongoing evaluations (16%), 124 tenders announced and re-announced (20%).
Technical specifications, work tasks, drawings and feasibility studies yet to be received from respective ministries and agencies represent 10% of the uncompleted work.
Complaints were received for 7.1% of the work from the 559 projects and 40 actions. However, 90% were resolved in favour of the ordering entity.
Picture: The Government Procurement Agency collaborates with the Asian Foundation
3. Training, advertisement and public relations
Procedures on training and certification of purchasing activities were amended by the Minister of Finance in Resolution No. 84 on 19 April 2013. The GPA has the official right to provide training on basic knowledge and to grant examination certificates for training provider non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The following recommendations were included in the National Programme for Development of Purchasing Human Resources 2013-16:
1. Within the Government for Change's action plan: "Conduct online purchasing of goods, works and services by the state, in a transparent manner and under citizen and public supervision, with the purpose of eliminating tender conflicts, corruption and bribery", develop a training programme for instruction in the use of e-purchasing and involve all relevant parties in purchasing activities.
2. Establish and manage the activities of the Training and Research Centre for Purchasing at the GPA.
3. Include specific measures for capacity-building of human resources for local purchasing branches.
The agency has provided 15 training sessions for more 5,500 people on basic knowledge of purchasing, which took place in the capital and 21 provinces, and granted A3 certificates to more than 2,500 people.
Picture: The government's implementation agency, the Government Procurement Agency, collaborates with the Mongolian Employers' Union
More than 170 employees were involved in four training sessions organised by the GPA in cooperation with the Inspection, Prevention and Education Department of the Anti-Corruption Authority. The aim of the training was to improve employees' legal knowledge. Training in Ablecode office software was also provided. All GPA employees attended the training course on archiving organised by the Central Archives Authority.
The agency attended the Road and Transportation Ministry's "Road Expo 2013" International Exhibition, held at the Buyant-Ukhaa sport complex, as well as the "ICT Expo 2013" open day event at the Misheel Expo centre held by the Information Technology, Post and Communication Authority, where more than 650 people received information about purchasing and e-purchasing.
We are working on an animation series aimed at providing citizens and business entities with information and knowledge about purchasing. Nearly 6,000 people watched the first four episodes of this animation series on YouTube or Facebook and CDs have been distributed to more than 2,100 private persons and business entities.
Purchasing activity outcomes were published in the mass media in the following manner:
Tender invitations were placed on the Ministry of Finance website, www.e-procurement.mn, the Government Procurement Agency website, www.e-tender.mn, and on the websites of 16 ministries, agencies and professional associations, as well as GPA news. New reports will be placed on www.zasag.mn, www.vip76.mn, www.news.mn and www.shuud.mn, among others.
A task group was created to translate the agency's website into English, in order to improve access to information for international organizations and foreign citizens involved in the purchasing processes. We are currently undertaking preparatory works to translate news and information into English and revising the design and content of the website.
Picture: The opening ceremony of the Government Procurement Agency
4. Implemented projects and programmes
The projects "Improving the Legal Environment of Purchasing Activity" and "Improving the Capacity for Purchasing", implemented in cooperation with the World Bank Office in Mongolia.
Phase I of the project "Introducing Online Purchasing in Mongolia", funded by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
The project "Make state purchasing transparent and efficient, increase public monitoring of state purchasing policies and its implementation, improve the coordination between organizations and capacity of local branches", in cooperation with international organization Mercy Corps.
5. Support for public participation in state purchasing
NGO representatives are involved in the evaluation committees, as stipulated by Provision 47.4 of the "Law on the Purchase of Goods, Works and Services with State and Local State Funds", for the purpose of ensuring the transparency of the purchasing process. The evaluation committees include a total of 550 NGO staff.
Transferring state purchasing into an online form
The following activities have been implemented in compliance with the goal of the Government for Change's Action Plan: "To conduct the purchase of goods, works and services by the state, entirely online and transparently, under citizen and public supervision, and to reform the current tender system from one where the ordering entity decides to one where the executing entities decide, with the final aim of eliminating tender conflicts, corruption and bribery":
1. Representatives of 130 business entities have been involved in three online purchasing open days.
2. Training has been organised on a regular basis for the online purchasing system and has involved 1,100 people.
3. A total of 367 business entities have been registered with the MEPS e-purchase system and provided with personal passwords. Electronic entries for 85 projects and actions, representing 25.6% of the purchasing activities, have been completed. Running costs for ordering entities for the tender process and selection, and the expenses of individuals and business entities that participate in tenders have both decreased with the move to electronic purchasing.
Picture: Since 4 October 2013, 65 employees of the Government Procurement Agency have been managing state purchasing responsibly.
Establishment and capacity-building of local branches
1. The establishment of a professional organization in charge of purchasing has provided the public with an open, transparent and express state service organised at professional level and in a short period of time.
2. By activating one-point services, tender participants have been able to obtain needed information promptly from one place.
3. The number of complaints has decreased since information about purchasing tenders, processes and results as been provided promptly to public, in an open and transparent way, through the websites www.procurement.mn and www.e-tender.mn, which have been set up and managed by the agency, with the aim of ensuring transparency.
4. Important steps have been taken to prevent any issues relating to corruption and conflicts of interest, thanks to cooperation with the Consumer Rights and Fair Competition Agency, the Anti-Corruption Agency, NGOs and professional associations.
5. Business entities bidding for tenders have begun reporting their taxation status correctly, now that the GPA has started to obtain information about their financial capacity from the Taxation Office in a timely manner.
6. Conditions for the organization of state purchasing in Mongolia, in compliance with international standards, have been created for the first time, under the approval of "Construction Works Purchasing – ISO-10845" of the Technical Commission of the Standardization and Metrology Office and the adoption of Mongolian National Standard MNS-10845,.
7. The introduction of the e-purchase system aims to improve transparency, efficiency and justice, reduce costs associated with tendering, reduce needless expenses and improve control over purchasing and other benefits.
8. Business entities and companies can now download tender documentation and start participating in tenders, taking into account their own human resources, equipment and financial capacity. E-purchasing creates favourable conditions for successful tendering companies to execute higher quality project works and increase their investment return and benefits in a short period of time.
9. A database of purchasing processes, its outcomes and business entities and companies participating in tenders has been created.
Aspects for further consideration
1. Keep improving the legal environment for purchasing and create conditions favourable for providing local purchasing branches with centralized professional assistance.
2. Provide tender participants with knowledge about the state purchasing processes and capacity to participate in online purchases, and increase public participation.
3. Establish and operate a training and research centre at the professional State Purchasing Agency in order to define investment outcomes, further projects and calls for action, and coordinate them with other projects and activities.
4. Initiate Phase II of the project "Introduction of e-purchasing in Mongolia".
5. Provide the public with information related to state purchasing on the internet.
6. Organise online training on state purchasing.
7. Create conditions to ensure the provision of open, effective, fair and transparent state purchasing, reduce expenses for tendering, improve coordination of state organizations' activity, use state funds efficiently and improve control/monitoring of their expenditure.