E-procurement strengthens transparency
Thursday, September 20 2012
THE implementation of electronic procurement or e-Procurement services in South Korea, via KONEPS — the Korea Online e-Procurement System, has been a significant time and money saver for submission and review of documents, while increasing transparency of the procurement process.
“Before KONEPS, it took over 30 hours to complete tender documents. Now it takes less than two hours, sometimes it’s even a matter of a few minutes, depending on how much information is required,” South Korea’s Deputy Director of the Public Procurement Service (PPS), Kang-il Seo said on Monday.
He was speaking on the topic “Innovating Public Procurement through e-Procurement” at the first-ever Korea-Caribbean ICT (Information and Communication Technology)/e-Government Forum, held at Crowne Plaza, Port-of-Spain. His comments come even as Government is yet to deliver on a 2010 election campaign promise to bring new public procurement legislation to Parliament for passage. Legislative proposals have been discussed by a parliamentary joint select committee over the last two years but Government has not brought new public procurement legislation yet to Parliament.
More than 70 percent of Korea’s public procurement now goes through KONEPS, which must be used by the central government for all tenders for goods and services worth more than US $100,000 and construction work above $3 million.
Another benefit/feature of KONEPS touted by Seo was how quickly vendors are paid once their projects are complete.
“We not only have e-Bidding and e-Contracting, Korea has gone all the way and implemented e-Payments as well. Typically, within 24 hours of delivery you get paid. Once the project has been completed and verified, e-Payment is made. The increase of work productivity has been dramatic,” Seo stated.
Monday’s forum was meant to showcase South Korea’s ICT expertise, highlighting areas which Trinidad and Tobago would most likely be interested in, including public procurement and traffic management.
A few forum attendees audibly gasped when the PPS Deputy Director revealed how quickly contractors are paid via KONEPS. Their reaction highlighted the disparity between the situation in TT — where promises of Public Procurement legislation have yet to be realised, and the vast array of e-Government services in South Korea — ranked the world’s 14th largest economy by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US $1.27 trillion, of which ICT exports make up a significant percentage. Just last Thursday, the TT Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) issued a statement calling on the current administration to implement the much-anticipated Public Sector Procurement Reform Legislation. The association also called for implementation of “the recommendations of the Uff Commission of Enquiry into the Construction Sector. Further, the Government should make public the report on the Piarco Airport Enquiry.”
In addition, the TTMA noted the People’s Partnership’s Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011-2014 outlined “Good Governance” as one of seven development pillars to ensure transparency and accountability.