To date, countries face the challenge of conducting fast and effective procurement in order to acquire the goods and services necessary for fighting against Covid-19. As a rule, due to the state of emergency announced in most of the countries affected by the pandemic, national legislations foresee the necessity of conducting public procurement within a limited period of time and allows avoiding the competitive process of procurement (such as electronic procurement, tenders, etc.). However, these provisions should not be interpreted as posing risk to transparent and accountable public procurement. On the contrary - ensuring the openness and transparency of the procurement process is particularly important nowadays when considerable financial sources (state budgets, special funds, international aid and private donations) are spent on conducting urgent procurements aimed at fighting against the pandemic. The concern is based on previous examples of corrupt practices in the process of medical procurement such as the ones linked with the Ebola crisis. It is particularly important for low-income countries since they are most vulnerable to corruption risks.
In order to effectively fight against the pandemic states should fully internalize the past experience and take every step necessary to ensure open access to the information on Covid-19 related procurement. Wider society should have the opportunity to scrutinize the process and keep track of procurement spending through relevant state systems of public procurement. This will raise public trust towards their governments and mobilize collective efforts for pandemic crisis management.
Taking into consideration the existing challenges posed by the global health crises IDFI developed Guidelines on Covid-19 Related Public Procurement. IDFI provided international community, governments and civil society organizations (Open Government Partnership (OGP), African Union, The Freedom of Information Advocates Network (FOIAnet)) with the guidelines and hopes that the documents will provide decision-makers, governments, civil society organizations and all other relevant stakeholders across the globe with practical information on the steps that need to be taken in the process of conducting procurement aimed at responding to the challenges caused by the current pandemic.
IDFI would like to share the guidelines with the partner organizations participating in Transparent Public Procurement Rating (TPPR). We hope that increased and enhanced transparency and accountability will ensure public trust towards their government’s action during the Covid-19 crisis.
Please, follow the link to view the full text of the guidelines.