BD Post Report
Country’s women community should be empowered through ensuring engagement in public procurement process and it is imperative to identify the ways to certify them as tenderer needs.
Referring to examples of a number of countries such as USA, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kenya where there is a certification agency to certify women tenderers, he said that how the women entrepreneurs can be certified as tenderer needs to be settled first in Bangladesh.
“We need to conduct further research on how women entrepreneur can come under total tendering process,” said Faruque Hossain, Director General, the Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU).
He informed that they are now working for interoperability so that it can be integrated with the i-VAS system.
He was speaking at a dialogue titled ‘Public Procurement Policy and Gender Perspective’ organised by Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) in cooperation with IFC-WBG and BWIT at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka on Thursday.
The dialogue brought together stakeholders and experts in this area for discussion and explored the inclusion of gender aspect into the procurement laws of Bangladesh for identifying ways in which women can actively participate in the government’s procurement process.
Referring to examples of a number of countries such as USA, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kenya where there is a certification agency to certify women tenderers, CPTU DG said that how the women entrepreneurs can be certified as tenderer needs to be settled first in Bangladesh.
He gave a detailed description of e-GP system in Bangladesh and identified areas and informed that nine modules of e-GP have been developed but not all have been opened yet. Almost all the government entities have been registered with e-GP system except 32 upazilas and 17 unions which are yet to be included.
Mohammad Muslim Chowdhury, Comptroller and Auditor General of Bangladesh who attended the programme as the chief guest said that CPTU is doing a very good job and it is going to be converted to an authority when the organization would be able to engage more women in the PPR.
In this thread, he mentioned that the CPTU web portal can have some women related activities as a starting point. He added that as like IT, a standard portal can also be launched for engaging women which will have enough information to increase capacities of women. He viewed that the area of ‘works’ would be difficult for women because of its implementation problem, in that respect he emphasized on supportive external governance.
He suggested that services including intellectual professional services and goods could be the preferred area for women. Referring to the successful example of electronic fund transfer (EFT), he added that e-procurement and other related activities such as certification, award giving, payment etc. will be synchronized with the total electronic payment system.
Dr. Jamal Uddin Ahmed, Member, Board of Directors, Bangladesh Bank and General Secretary, Bangladesh Economic Association, suggested for better policy support so that enabling environment can be created for the women entrepreneurs.
Forkan Bin Quasem, Chairman, e-GOV Cell, BASIS, a resource speaker at the event, urged for compulsory local participation in the international tender. He justified that because of absence of policy on intellectual property, creative activities are not being developed within the country. He also urged that the projects which are complex could be earmarked for the most experienced companies while simple and semi complex projects can be participated by the less experienced companies or start- up companies.
Ms. Rezwana Khan, a member of BWIT requested for presence of local participation in international tenders at significant level. A number of women entrepreneurs took part in the discussion and raised several points to ensure their access to the public procurement.
A welcome speech was given earlier by Mr. Asif Ibrahim, Former Chairman, BUILD and Former President, DCCI.He also moderated the question-answer session and put emphasis for series of dialogues on this critical issues so that women can come up in a large way to contribute to the economy.
Ms. Ferduas Ara Begum, CEO, BUILD presented a paper on e-GP on behalf of Ms. Luna Shamsuddoha, Chairman, Janata Bank and President, BWIT. She proposed for reducing the gender gap in technology which can work as an equalizer and requested for developing a gender segregated database to understand the real condition of women.
Another paper was presented by Ms. Mehruna Islam Chowdhury, Gender Consultant, BUILD which explained different sources of public expenditure, key ministries responsible for making policies on procurement, weaknesses of general procurement system etc. She also referred that in total registered bidders, the number of women entrepreneurs is very insignificant. Referring to the example of different countries like India, Kenya, Namibia, she proposed that in Bangladesh there are opportunities for women entrepreneurs through a number of procurement methods, such as limited tender, quotation method, cash purchase method. However, because of the prevailing information gap, women are unable to participate.
Suggestions came from the participants for arranging specific areawise dialogues to make women entrepreneurs aware about the whole process of the government procurement. Women entrepreneurs in the dialogue urged for addressing the issue of women’s participation in the procurement of private organizations also. In that respect CEO, BUILD informed that BUILD is taking an initiative to arrange for capacity building programmes for women entrepreneurs to include them in the corporate procurement process.