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Procurement

EIC holds the opinion that the traditional procurement process, as applied by the EU and the Multilateral Development Banks, has not evolved in line with modern contract forms. More importance needs to be placed on the pre-qualification and tendering stages of project implementation through a comprehensive but transparent procedure that results in the selection of only those contractors with the capacity to successfully complete the project. 

At tender stage, greater care needs to be taken when specifying the technical specification and employer’s requirements, and it needs to become standard practice to provide all available data to bidders. 

In 2012, the World Bank launched its first comprehensive procurement policy review since its founding some 60 years ago. EIC set up a new Working Group “World Bank Procurement” to accompany the process.

The Group submitted a Position Paper comprising initial comments which called for effective dispute settlement procedures, international arbitration, contract award on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender , the possibility to reject abnormally low bids, a more rigid pre-qualification procedure including sustainability criteria and, last but not least, an anti-corruption policy that is applied also towards the borrower.

In November 2013 the Executive Directors of the World Bank approved the New Procurement Framework and the management will address implementation issues in 2014. After a three-year review period, the World Bank´s Executive Board endorsed the final package for the World Bank’s New Procurement Framework on 21 July 2015. The EIC Working Group analysed and commented on the main changes.

The new framework introduces the concept of Alternative Procurement Arrangements (APA) instead of country procurement systems. EIC is concerned that the New Procurement Framework (NPF) no longer calls for the “equivalence” of APAs with the Bank’s own procurement procedures and documents but that the standard has been watered down to “acceptable” procurement practices.

The new framework states, that “open international competitive procurement (…) is the preferred approach for complex, high-risk and/or high-value activities”. To this end, the World Bank has established thresholds for international competitive processes by country. In the EIC view, in such instances, ICB must be “the approach” and any waiver should generally be impossible.

Under the new framework, the new Global Governance Procurement (GGP) will be in charge of public procurement related matters. Within this unit, the Accredited Practice Managers (APMs) will play a crucial role in implementing the New Framework since they will advise management on the application of the Procurement Framework, they will supervise procurement staff and oversee the organisation and delivery of procurement services. While the Global Governance Procurement unit´s future capacity is still officially unknown, the World Bank intends to publish complementary information on the Bank´s internal decision-making process detailing the internal roles and responsibilities by 31 October 2015.

The Framework goes into effect in early 2016 but a consultation period of four months has started during which stakeholders can send their last feedback. The World Bank Management is finalising and will issue the Procurement Directive, Procedure and Regulations that will replace the current Procurement Operational Policy (OP 11.00), Procurement Bank Policy (BP 11.00) and the Procurement Guidelines with the new Procurement Framework.