Revising procurement law addresses issues of ODA-funded projects: NEDA

By Wilnard Bacelonia

March 12, 2024, 2:10 pm

<p>National Economic and Development Authority Assistant Secretary Jonathan Uy <em>(Photo courtesy of Office of Senator Win Gatchalian)</em></p>

National Economic and Development Authority Assistant Secretary Jonathan Uy (Photo courtesy of Office of Senator Win Gatchalian)

MANILA – The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) urged lawmakers on Tuesday to streamline Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA) to address supply issues in projects being funded through Official Development Assistance (ODA).

During a public hearing of the Congressional Oversight Committee on the ODA (COCODA), NEDA Assistant Secretary Jonathan Uy said with the current law, biddings fail due to shortage of qualified bidders for civil works, goods, and highly technical consulting services.

Uy suggested that the best value procurement mechanism in procurement reform should be adopted.

"Instead of talking of price per se as the paramount value, we should come up with technical parameters for best value procurement beyond price," he said.

Uy also recommended a statutory grant for the Government Procurement Policy Board to enhance capacity building on procurement, as well as to increase professionalism among procurement practitioners.

"We cannot rely on changing procurement officers. In particular, that is an issue in terms of transparency and moral hazard if we have changing procurement officers. Therefore, we have to train a cadre of procurement people not only at the national level, but also at the local government level," Uy said.

The preferential use of domestically produced and manufactured goods, he said, should be amended, saying the technology needed, especially in ODA-funded projects, is usually not locally available.

Proposed revisions in Senate plenary

Senate Bill No. 2593, which proposes amendments to the GPRA, was ushered on Monday to the plenary.

Senator Sonny Angara, chair of the Committee on Finance, assured that the measure would result in greater efficiency in the implementation of projects, purchase of goods and supplies and reducing, if not eliminating, avenues for corruption.

A priority measure identified by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council, the amendments to the GPRA are expected to streamline and make effective the process of government procurement.

Angara said procurement of basic supplies take an "inordinate amount of time" to complete.

"There is a lack of true competition among bidders and oftentimes agencies are unable to undertake the procurement of goods due to poor planning or they are tied up by the procedures under the law,” he said in a speech.

In his last State of the Nation Address, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said the GPRA should be reformed to make public procurement more attuned to the changing times. (PNA)