ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-owned fuel retailer Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) will implement an automated tendering system for fuel purchase from next month to minimize corruption, the State Power and Energy Minister said as the IMF has demanded strong anti-corruption measures.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has demanded strong anti-corruption measures in return to its $3 billion, 48-month loan to ensure the country does not return to another economic crisis.
Analysts say Sri Lanka’s governance system is totally corrupted with an over bloated state sector. The island nation with 22 million population has one state official for every 16 citizens.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government has already enacted an anti-corruption law, but the public perception on the corrupt governance has not changed as there has been no action against politicians and bureaucrats who have been accused of corruption.
“We will implement in CPC from next month an e-procurement system for the first time in Sri Lanka,” D V Chanaka, State Power and Energy Minister said on Thursday (19).
“The registered suppliers will receive the tenders generated through the e-procurement system. There will be a deadline to submit the tender along with the premiums. But before that they need to tick many requirements including specimens, bid bonds etc.”
The CPC tenders have been under scrutiny in the past for not awarding to the lowest bidder. Government officials have said the “technical errors” in the tender process have been the reasons for such a decision.
“When we do this, there won’t be any errors from suppliers. So there won’t be a situation where suppliers make technical errors,” Chanaka said.
“Once the deadline is over, the system will generate the lowest bidders. Then we allow another 10 minutes to shortlist the top five lowest bidders. Those five can rebid if they want. Those five will see only the prices without the names.”
“This process will get repeated for three times and automatically the system will generate the agreement to the lowest bidder. Once the bidet agrees to the agreement, the system will issue the contract. So the system will be fully transparent and nobody can influence.”
In the past, successive Sri Lankan government have come up with strong anti-corruption measures and the law implementing authorities can take action under the existing legal system. However, no measures have been implemented so far, analysts say. (Colombo/Oct 21/2023)