By Gurcharan Singh and Samia Melham
Governments are always striving to drive up efficiencies and obtain financial savings, particularly in the current global economic climate. The existing public procurement system in Rwanda is decentralized which poses some significant practical challenges to achieving these objectives , e.g., fragmentation of the procurement of common use items across a large number of procuring entities. However, these challenges can be addressed with the implementation of an eProcurement system (e-GP) which will enable the transformation of public procurement itself,, streamline the information sharing among the decentralized procurement entities, and the optimization of the delivery of services to the citizens of Rwanda.
The major objective of this Korea Trust Fund project was to conduct a feasibility study for the implementation of e-Government Procurement (e-GP) for the Government of Rwanda. The study reviewed the Government’s existing legislative and e-GP landscape, and international consultants were awarded a contract by the World Bank to identify issues, analyze current e-GP practices and advice responsible authorities on the best suitable e-GP system. The consultant’s approach for this task was aligned with the definition of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) provided by the Multi-lateral Development Bank Expert Group on Electronic Government Procurement.
Impact of the Project
Public procurement in Rwanda is about US$0.8 billion a year. It plays a critical role in effective public expenditure management. Introducing e-procurement would increase efficiency in addition to transparency and compliance. The feasibility study found that Rwanda could start the implementation of a comprehensive e-GP reform following the allocation of the necessary funding. There is now very strong support from both the Minister of Youth and ICT and the Minister of Finance to move this urgently into implementation and there are some significant benefits in undertaking the e-GP project in parallel with the Government’s ongoing Information Financial Management System (IFMIS) rationalization.
The study also noted that Rwanda’s biggest challenges are capacity building for such a system both in terms of human resources and technology infrastructure, e.g., last mile connectivity. A piloted phased roll-out by all the procuring agencies, state and local – as well as private sector will have to be carefully planned and form a huge part of the change management strategy.
On the technology infrastructure front, the e-GP project will need to be aligned with the current on-going ‘last mile’ initiative. It will also need to employ and reuse innovative platforms or strategies such as business support centers, kiosks, k-lab, eRwanda ICT buses, e-learning tools and involve key stakeholders such as the ICT Chamber of the PSF.
Key Outputs and/or Outcomes
The study reviewed the Government of Rwanda’s existing legislative and e-GP landscape and the international consultants were tasked to deliver 7 separate reports focused on i) design of a nationwide e-GP system, ii) cost estimate of the proposed new system, iii) development of a time-bound roadmap for e-GP implementation of recommended approach, iv) capacity building for Rwanda’s Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) and private sector suppliers, v) feasibility of a PPP approach, vi) Overview of best practices, and vii) an analysis of current e-GP practices as followed currently by the RPPA.
This grant activity has also led to an e-procurement sub-component under the Public Sector Governance Program-for-Results project currently under preparation for Rwanda. Korea Tel-Com has been invited by the Government to submit both technical and financial proposals to implement a solution based on Korean e-procurement.