[26/04/16] On Tuesday 26 April, the launch of EBRD technical cooperation with the High Authority for Public Procurement (HAICOP) gathered together representatives of Tunisian businesses and authorities, including the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) and the Confederation of Tunisian Citizen Enterprises (CONECT) as well as development partners from the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the African Development Bank in Tunisia. This diversity created an excellent environment for lively debates and learning about the importance of public procurement reforms and the relevance of the public procurement review system for small businesses in particular.
The EBRD was represented by Marie-Anne Birken, General Counsel, Michel Nussbaumer, Director of the Legal Transition Programme (LTP) and Marie-Alexandra Veilleux-Laborie, Head of the Resident Office in Tunisia.
The LTP’s project led by Eliza Niewiadomska and developed in cooperation with the Small Business Advisory team aims at increasing participation of Tunisian SMEs in public tenders and profiting from business opportunities arising from availability of electronic tendering in the Tunisian electronic public procurement system (TUNEPS). The project will help developing regulations and operational policies for modern and business-friendly electronic procurement (eProcurement) procedures and will advise and assist the HAICOP throughout the development and piloting of new instruments in practice.
Registration of participants with TUNEPS EBRD team and international experts Launching the project
In her presentation, Sonia Ben Salem, Director of the TUNEPS, outlined the benefits of participating in public tenders on the TUNEPS: increased efficiency, transparency and lower transaction costs for business and plans for cooperation with the EBRD to increase number of SMEs bidding for public contracts in municipalities in Tunisia.
Thereafter, international experts, invited by the EBRD, presented successful cases of business-friendly electronic public procurement from EU Member States and some countries in the EBRD region.
Angela Russo, of CONSIP in Italy, in her presentation shared experience about working with SMEs in Italy, within Marketplace – dedicated Italian eProcurement platform for small businesses.
Luisa Lamela Diaz and Carmen Noguero Galilear from the Directorate for Procurement Rationalization and Centralization at the Ministry of Finance of Spain explained how public procurement is aggregated on a local and regional level in Spain to ensure good participation from small local companies. Their presentations, available here and here, offered an insight into the Spanish electricity sector and the management of centralised procurement: a challenge that remains highly relevant in Tunisia.
Olexandr Starodubtsev, Head of Public Procurement Authority of Ukraine, in his presentation, described how lack of trust to government has been overcome in Ukraine and resulted in adopting a very successful and transparent electronic procurement scheme that facilitated good cooperation between public and private sectors in Ukraine.
The afternoon session was dedicated to problems of government accountability for public procurement decisions and Habib Dridi, Head of COSEM, Tunisian public procurement review body, Eliza Niewiadomska and Philippe Rees presented their insights into designing simple and efficient public procurement review mechanism for Tunisia. The presentation of Habib Dridi is available here, that of Eliza Niewiadomska here and that of Philippe Rees here.
Speaker engages with the audience Panel of participants Afternoon session