Maintaining confidentiality, scraping bank charges for e-GP urged

Staff Correspondent
AHM Mustafa Kamal

Planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal speaks at a seminar on ‘role of banks in e-GP and way-forward’ organised by planning ministry in Dhaka on Thursday. — New Age photo

Participants at a seminar on Thursday said bank charges on electronic-government procurement (e-GP) should be withdrawn with a view to make the process a successful one and bring more transparency in public money spending.
They also urged the banks to maintain confidentiality in dealing with tender documents as questions have been raised regarding a number of banks in dealing with the issues.
The observations were made at the seminar on ‘role of banks in e-GP and way-forward’ organized by planning ministry on Thursday.
Speaking as the chief guest, planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said that the government had introduced the process with a view to make public spending more transparent and effective.
Besides, some changes were also made in the rules and regulations of government purchasing so that none can distort the procurement process only to win any government tender without ensuring quality of the work, he said.
Speaking about the allegations regarding the leakage of tender related confidential information, Bangladesh Bank deputy governor SK Sur Chowdhury said, ‘Banks’ main responsibility is to protect their clients information.’
In case of tender process, banks must maintain confidentiality of all the proceedings including what amount was deposited by a bidder against a tender and how much credit facility the bank was providing, Sur said.
World Bank country director Qimiao Fan said that Bangladesh had improved significantly in digitizing the public procurement process and e-GP has made significant contribution to it.
As a result, quality of public procurement also improved significantly as well, Qimiao said.
In the process, banks have significant role in maintaining confidentiality of the bidding process, especially who have bought bid documents and to whom banks issued guarantee, he said.
Bangladesh Association of Consulting Engineers vice president Lailun Nahar Ekram said, ‘Government should scrape every fees on e-GP process that were being charged by the banks as they were getting benefits from the security deposits submitted by the bidders.’
She also called on the banks not to share any bidder information with other bidders.
The BB deputy governor also mentioned that at present more than 2,000 branches of 41 banks were dealing with e-GP process and the central bank has a plan to increase the number gradually.
Saidur Rahman, a bidder from Mymensigh, said that different banks were charging different types of charges which were creating confusion among them.
Another bidder said that the government should disburse funds against the progress of work through banks automatically as well that will reduce bidders hassles.
Planning ministry’s IME division secretary Farid Uddin Ahmed Chowdhury said that the issues will be addressed.
Finance and planning ministry state minister MA Mannan, UCBL managing director Muhammed Ali and Agrani Bank managing director Mohammad Shams-Ul Islam, among others, were present.

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