[18/05/2015] EBRD UNCITRAL Initiative experts Eliza Niewiadomska, Johannes Schnitzer, Tato Urjumelashvili and Jorge Macara undertook a mission to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia from 30 March to 1 April 2015, to introduce the recently set up new technical assistance project that supports Mongolia’s national public procurement authorities in developing regulations and practical tools to implement framework agreements and electronic procedures in practice.
The delegation was supported by local consultants Ms Tuya and Ms Enkhnaran, as well as representatives from MIRIM, a company specialising in market research. The experts moderated, spoke and participated in a two-day workshop to discuss the implementation of electronic framework agreements in Mongolia. More than 30 individuals attended, including representatives of the Mongolian Government Procurement Agency (GPA), the Ministry of Finance of Mongolia (MoF), the office of the Prime Minister of Mongolia and other Mongolian stakeholders.
The workshop focused in particular on an implementation strategy for the use of framework agreements in an electronic environment in Mongolia, as well as the envisaged pilot project for four selected types of goods (fuel, copy paper, ink cartridges and computers). The experts presented case studies from Georgia, Portugal and Austria. MIRIM presented its first findings on the pilot project from the market research underway.
The GPA gave an update on the current situation regarding the legal basis for framework agreements, in particular the secondary legislation on framework agreements (FWA Regulation) as well as the standard bidding documents. The experts suggested various changes to the regulation to make the pilot project possible, in particular allowing for multi-supplier framework agreements as well as for mini-competitions in the second stage of the tender procedure to establish the framework agreement. The current language of the FWA Regulation suggests that the procuring entity must call-off on the basis of the price offered in the first stage of the tender procedure and is not allowed to ask for new bids which could result in lower prices. Recommendations were also made to include additional provisions on how companies wishing to join the signed framework agreement will be admitted, the risks of single-supplier framework agreements the duration of the framework agreement and the use of regional lots.
The workshop specifically addressed decisions on the scope of the pilot project, to be conducted by the GPA and the MoF, including appointing contracting entities to work with the GPA and test the procedures for the pilot (first users), as well as appointing procurement officers from outside the GPA for each category of goods selected for the pilot (product specialists).
The new e-procurement platform, which is currently being developed by a local IT consultancy company, also came up for discussion. It was stressed that it should include an online open tender for establishing framework agreements electronically (should it be decided not to run this stage on paper, to save time in the pilot project) and a special online procedure for purchasing from framework agreements (call-offs or mini-competition). Tato Urjumelashvili and Jorge Macara also met the IT consultants to see a beta version of the software.
Lastly, Eliza Niewiadomska and Johannes Schnitzer held a very fruitful meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa to discuss the pilot project. It was very positive to hear that the implementation of electronic framework agreements as well as the envisaged pilot project is fully supported by the Deputy Prime Minister. Also on a very positive note, the changes and amendments to both the FWA Regulation as well as the standard bidding documents, which are necessary to make the pilot possible, are being supported by the Deputy Prime Minister.
The mission further discussed a concrete time line for the pilot project, as well as the next steps to be taken. Overall, the hope is that the pilot project will lead to improvements in the public procurement management processes in Mongolia. The pilot project could ultimately, although this is not the primary objective, result in cost savings, as compared to Mongolia’s current procurement processes.