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World Bank ‘bars’ e-tendering in Bangladesh health sector, minister disagrees

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Health Minister Mohammed Nasim has alleged that the World Bank is “opposing” introduction of the e-tendering system in his ministry, but he will do it anyway.

“I want to bring transparency in the procurement process and that’s why I want to introduce e-tendering in the Central Medical Store Depot (CMSD). But the World Bank is opposing that,” he said, meeting health reporters on Sunday.

“But I’ll introduce it (e-tendering),” he asserted, adding that this would help “to reduce corruption.”

Nasim did not cite any reason why the global lender was opposing the process, but he said donors’ “conditions delay the implementation of the ministry’s programme”.

Asked, a World Bank spokesperson declined to make any comment on the health minister’s statement.

But the spokesperson, Mehrin Ahmed Mahbub, told bdnews24.com that the World Bank rolled out the first electronic procurement and online performance monitoring systems in Bangladesh in 2011 in four public procuring entities – transport, local government, water, and power.

Known as e-Gp, electronic government procurement reduced tender processing time from 51 days in 2012 to 29 days in 2015, and the number of registered bidders grew 35-fold, to 18,000 over the same period, she said, adding that they approved additional funding for the project.

The Bangladesh Health Reporters’ Forum (BHRF) organized the meet the press on the proposed 2016-2017 budget for the health sector with the Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA).

Chaired by BHRF President Toufiq Maruf, the meet also marked the presence of BMA President Prof Mahmud Hassan and Secretary General Prof M Iqbal Arslan.

The health minister sought more budgets for his ministry to carry out the “increasing programmes for public benefit”. (Source: bdnews24.com)

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