DUSHANBE, April 12, Asia-Plus -- On Tuesday April 11, a fur-day Central Asia Regional Public Procurement Forum opened in the Kazakh city of Almaty.

Delegates from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan representing public procurement officials, civil society organization, and international and bilateral donor agencies are discussing main issues in reforming public procurement in Central Asia countries and develop recommendations for further improvement of using public funds.

This second regional procurement forum sponsored by the World Bank (WB) builds on the first forum, which was held in Tashkent in April 2005.

According to information from the WB Dushanbe Office, a Tajik delegation attending the forum is led by Hamdam Taghoymurodov, head of the Agency for Public Procurement.  

Press release issued by the World Bank says that an efficient and effective public procurement system is one of the main driving forces behind a country’s development efforts and can contribute substantially towards strengthening its economy.  On the other hand, a weak public procurement system will surely cause serious losses of public funds and adversely impact the country’s economy and development. Most countries spend about 10 to 15 per cent of their GDP on public procurement of goods, works and services.  Given that each year billions of dollars are spent on public procurement, governments can realize substantial amounts of financial savings through the use of a transparent, fair, economic and efficient public procurement system.

On the public procurement in Tajikistan, the press release says that in 1997 Tajikistan took a commendable step in introducing its first public procurement law, with the technical and financial support of the World Bank.  The 1997 law provided for a partially decentralized public procurement system, and an oversight body. In 2002, the Government of Tajikistan and the World Bank, as part of the Government efforts to improve governance in the country, conducted a comprehensive assessment of the public procurement system in the country.  Following upon the recommendations of the Country Procurement Assessment Report, and with the technical and more financial support in the form of a grant from the Institutional Development Fund (IDF) of the World Bank, a new law was drafted.  The new law was approved by the Parliament in February 2006 and is now effective.  This law provides for a full but gradual decentralization of the procurement responsibility to ministries, committees, oblast administrations,  municipalities, etc., at all levels of government, and includes provisions for a transparent, fair, competitive and economic procurement, so essential for the efficient use of public funds.

The implementation of the new public procurement law would necessitate substantial amendments to subsidiary regulations dealing with the detailed rules for carrying out this law.