Call for Comments: Revised Assessment Tool to Drive Procurement Reform

A significant portion of a country’s financial resources – approximately 12%-20% of GDP – can be spent on public sector procurement. For countries in the Caribbean and around the world, an efficient public procurement system can stimulate private sector growth, sustainable development, and allow for transparency and accountability to the taxpayers who fund it. A poor system can result in inefficiencies, corruption, and the loss of billions of dollars.

The Methodology for Assessing Procurement Systems (MAPS) tool was developed to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of public procurement systems by OECD and partners and is used globally. However, since being launched in 2004, new international standards and global developments in procurement have led to the need for a revised version of MAPS. A diverse stakeholders’ working group, consisting of previous and future users of MAPS as well as public procurement experts has produced a first draft of the new document, which interested individuals and organisations are being invited to comment on. Head of Procurement at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Doug Fraser, who was part of the working group, commented:

In the Caribbean, many countries are facing weak growth and substantive debt after the recent global economic downturn. Public procurement offers an opportunity to more effectively deploy scarce public funds and to stimulate sustainable investment. We hope that this MAPS revision will further drive procurement reform, paving the way to more efficient country systems in the region and beyond,” said Mr. Fraser.

The revised MAPS takes into account improvements suggested by users and stakeholders, and aims to drive the implementation of modern, efficient and sustainable procurement systems in countries around the world.

The draft document can be viewed on the OECD website, and will be available until September 30, 2016. Comments received from stakeholders across the world, including the Caribbean region, will be incorporated in the second draft, which will then be further vetted in a testing and piloting phase across a number of countries.  CDB plans to assist its borrowing member countries to utilise the final tool to assess their public procurement systems and to map out procurement reform programmes.

Public procurement is the process that governments go through to purchase work, supplies or services. Strong public procurement systems therefore, are critical to achieving sustainable growth. CDB’s work in public procurement has included the development of an online procurement training course for Caribbean stakeholders, as well leading and co-financing the establishment of a Caribbean regional procurement centre, to be hosted at the University of Technology, Jamaica. CDB will also host the annual Multilateral Development Banks/International Financial Institutions Heads of Procurement Meeting in October of this year.