Special Section
PUBLIC PROCUREMENT IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19

Procurement agencies play a key role to ensure transparency and efficiency in procurement processes in order to guarantee the availability and quality of goods, services y facilities for citizen welfare.

As a part of the INGP initiatives, procurement agencies from Latin-America and the Caribbean (LAC) have reported measures, actions and challenges related to COVID-19 impact. This information will be updated as greater advances are provided.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score, procurement agencies have indicated their levels of preparedness and response to address the pandemic.

Other initiatives and mechanisms led by regional, multilateral and global agencies also are presented in this section to share alternative solutions to face this crisis.

Other initiatives and mechanisms

Perception of public procurement agencies about their level of preparedness
Framework Agreements in Place :
0
Actions and solutions implemented:

General measures related to traveling restrictions, schools closing, social distancing. No specific measures related to Procurement.

Challenges:

Most Procurement processes required face to face interaction. Regulations only allow for very few procedures to take place electronically (i.e. Tenders board meeting).

Assistance Required:

Assistance or proposed structure to facilitate procurement processes electronically since they do not have access to e-GP.

Advise on good practices that can be followed in emergency situations like this.

Framework Agreements in Place :
0
Actions and solutions implemented:

Declared state of emergency.

Challenges:

Limited supply of protective equipment and antibacterial gel.

Assistance Required:

Specific health supplies required.

Institution:

Ministry of Finance

EXISTING FRAMEWORK AGREEMENTS FOR MEDICAL GOODS & SERVICES:

Without Framework Agreements.

ACTIONS & SOLUTIONS IMPLEMENTED:

The Ministry of Finance has implemented the following measures related to COVID-19:

A. REGULATORY FRAMEWORK:

Use of the Limited Tendering Procedure which is being used in case of emergencies and for protection of public health.

B. TRANSPARENCY:

Creation of a specific activity number in its Chart of Accounts in order to register all expenditures made -current and capital- during the pandemic.

C. INTEGRITY:

Public procurement is being led by the Ministry of Health which ensures that the Covid-19 tests are compatible with laboratory equipment which is located in Belize.

D. INNOVATION:

– Procurement of masks, produced locally. In Belize, it’s required to use a mask in all public spaces and to keep social distance (3 to 6 feet apart).
– Design and Execution of a cash subsidy for all those that lost their employment because of the pandemic.

E. APPROACHING THE PRIVATE SECTOR & CIVIL SOCIETY:

Both the private sector and civil society are working with the Government of Belize to provide an effective response to the pandemic, through:
– Cash donations which are comprised in the Chart of Accounts.
– Procurement of equipment [ventilators, PPEs] provided by the private sector, following the guidelines stated by the Ministry of Health, which also recommends Direct Payment to the Supplier. Some Suppliers are even offering facilities to supply goods and services needed and get paid later when foreign exchange earnings increase or stabilize.

F. USE OF MONITORING TOOLS:

Keeping on donations, allocation of funds to enable the unexpected purchases, records of what is being purchased and the procurement method being used.

CHALLENGES:

– Formulation of Framework Agreements. Up to now, the Limited Tendering Procedure is the procurement method being used.
– Decreasing of revenues due to the decreasing of activities. This situation has put a strain on government finances which are needed to purchase laboratory equipment and expendable items (tests, syringes, etc).
– Shortage of medical equipment (ventilators). Likewise, payments have to be made by a certain due date or orders are cancelled.

ASSISTANCE REQUIRED:

– Test kitts needed to continue monitoring the situation. These medical materials necessarily must be certified by the Ministry of Health in order to verify its compatibility with the reagents available in Belize.

Institution:

Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas Públicas

Framework Agreements in Place :
0
Actions and solutions implemented:

Specific supreme decree authorize agencies to use Direct Contracting to respond to COVID 19 emergency.

Challenges:

No dedicated Budget allocated as it is a force majeure event.

Limited capacity of suppliers.

Assistance Required:

Access to additional Supplies since the market is at max capacity.

Framework Agreements in Place :

Yes, traditional, disaster and emergency response.

Flexibility to incorporate new suppliers, create new agreements and incorporate other countries.

Actions and solutions implemented:

Purchase of personal protective equipment from local suppliers.

Collaboration with Crown Agents to procure more supplies from Germany.

Assistance Required:

Incentivize manufacturers to increase the production of supplies required to respond to the Coronavirus emergency to increase supply.

Institution:

Colombia Compra Eficiente

EXISTING FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT FOR MEDICAL GOODS & SERVICES:

1. Emergency Demand Aggregation Instrument related to COVID-19.

2. Procurement of Special Control Drugs.

3. HIV treatment.

4. Treatment of Chronic Kidney Disease.

5. Treatment of Hemophilia.

More information, here.

ACTIONS AND SOLUTIONS IMPLEMENTED:

Colombia Compra Eficiente has adopted the following measures related to COVID-19:

A. REGULATORY FRAMEWORK:

– Electronic public hearings.
– Prevalence of structured demand aggregation instruments by Colombia Compra Eficiente.
– Sanctioning procedures by electronic means.
– Elimination of limit in value of additions.
– Electronic payment procedure to contractors.
– Procurement in international market by private regime for some biomedical equipment, furniture, medicines, medical devices and personal protection equipment.

B. TRANSPARENCY:

Guide to Transparency in Procurement during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Includes a clarification of the obligation to publish in the Electronic System for Public Contracting -SECOP- regardless of the applicable regime and the inclusion of the word “COVID-19” to facilitate searches and citizen monitoring.

C. INTEGRITY:

Guide to Transparency in Procurement during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Includes guidelines to facilitate the monitoring by control bodies and citizens.

D. INNOVATION:

Mini-Science: See information here.

APPROACHING THE PRIVATE SECTOR & CIVIL SOCIETY:

SECOP’s Open Data and Citizen Monitoring Tool for monitoring recruitment during the pandemic.

F. USE OF MONITORING TOOLS:

COVID-19 Public Control Tool.

CHALLENGES:

Limited offer of supplies, equipment, drugs and medical devices.

ASSISTANCE REQUIRED:

Other countries strategies to face the pandemic from a public procurement view.

Institution:

Ministry of Finance - General Directorate for Asset Management and Procurement (DGABCA by its acronyms in Spanish)

EXISTING FRAMEWORK AGREEMENTS FOR MEDICAL GOODS & SERVICES:

Without Framework Agreements.

ACTIONS AND SOLUTIONS IMPLEMENTED:

The DGABCA has adopted the following measures related tonCOVID-19:

A. REGULATORY FRAMEWORK:

Issuance of specific decrees and guidelines aimed at crisis management, under the coordination of the Ministry of Health and the National Emergency Commission.

B. TRANSPARENCY:

– Procurement processes through SICOP.
– Direct procurement processes authorized by the control entity or in accordance with the provisions of the legal system. The information of the procurement processes is available for consultation/verification in transactional or registration systems.

C. INTEGRITY:

– The application of the regulatory framework and tool SICOP guarantee integrity of the procurement processes in response to COVID 19.
– Automated procurement processes.

D. INNOVATION:

– Commitment to teleworking in the public sector has enabled new skills to be developed for civil servants and has shown that it can be used as an alternative to face-to-face work.
– Satisfactory response in terms of country responsiveness to the connectivity.

E. APPROACH TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR & CIVIL SOCIETY:

– Consultation with public and private sectors to ascertain their perception about the COVID-19 impact on public procurement processes and provide them support.
– Coordination with electronic Procurement platform service provider RACSA in order to promote the incorporation of pending entities into the SICOP.
– Periodic generation of communications for agents related to procurement processes and the general public.

F. USE OF MONITORING TOOLS:

Procurement processes are carried out through the SICOP (Ministry of Finance), transactional platform; the information is replicated in the SIAC (Comptroller General of the Republic) transactional system.

CHALLENGES:

– The persistence of the COVID situation represents a significant challenge with respect to the decline in global economic activity, which impacts the collection of fiscal income and consequently the real capacity of the public sector to finance its expenditures.

– In view of the limited revenue situation, the implementation/strengthening of public expenditure containment measures is envisaged. In view of this, the route of external financing emerges as a possibility, even though it compromises in terms of the financial burden and the LND.

ASSISTANCE REQUIRED:

Timely access to medicines at reasonable prices.

Framework Agreements in Place :
0
Actions and solutions implemented:

Authorization to the Ministry of Health to make direct purchases for emergencies.

Presentation of offers through electronic procurement transactional portal.

In the process of identifying requirements for health supplies to organize bulk procurement.

Challenges:

ND

Assistance Required:

ND

Institution:

Servicio Nacional de Contratación Pública SERCOP

Framework Agreements in Place :

Yes, traditional and emergency reponse.

Working to introduce flexibility to include new goods to the list and new framework agreements.

Actions and solutions implemented:

Resolution to issue normative towards emergency and make processes more transparent. Creation of electronic procurement channels for procurement processes continuity.

Best Practices in emergency Procurement Guide.

Publication on Procurement in emergencies and promoting transparency.

Instruccional video.

Challenges:

Supervise 100% of Procurement processes related to emergency response.

Adequate communication.

Capacity to manage business processed via telework.

Assistance Required:

Advisory and support on electronic services.

Institution:

Ministerio de Finanzas Públicas

Framework Agreements in Place :

Yes traditional.

Actions and solutions implemented:

Declare National Emergency so that purchases are made under the state of emergency exception.

Challenges:

Escasez de productos

Assistance Required:

Generating capacities among procurement personnel is one of the deficiencies that stand out in these emergencies.

Institution:

Oficina Normativa de Contratación y Adquisiciones del Estado

Framework Agreements in Place:

Yes, traditional, emergency response and COVID response.

Actions and solutions implemented:

Declare national emergency for direct purchase of supplies and services necessary to attend the emergency.

Enabling the procurement electronic catalog for response to covid-19 and dengue.

Challenges:

Desabastecimiento de la cadena de producción y entrega.

Restricciones al libre desplazamiento.

Demanda excede la oferta.

Restricción del crédito por parte de los proveedores.

Assistance Required:

Recommendation and advisory services regarding the supplies that should be available for the national emergency.

Institution:

Ministerio de Salud / Ministry of Health

Framework Agreements in Place :

Traditional.

Actions and solutions implemented:

South-South cooperation with OECS in the procurement of medical supplies and engagement of medical personnel from Cuba.

Working with Crown Agents for the procurement of medical supplies from global supply chain.

Working with disaster management agencies/ NGOs who have ventilators and personal protective equipment in hand to be distributed among medical personnel.

Working with UK network of support and supply;

Challenges:

Access to supply and availability.

Logistics to speed up delivery to island.

Not enough personnel in Procurement department to respond to crisis proactively.

ICU equipment and ventilators provided thru disaster management agencies will take time to arrive.

Challenges with mobilization and preparation against time.

Institution:

Dirección Nacional de Contrataciones Públicas

Framework Agreements in Place:

0

They are not using FA for lack of flexibility.

Actions and solutions implemented:

Centralized information in procurement portal.

Contractual addendums in other modalities affected by the emergency.

Quick Public procurement guide to address the emergency.

Guides to reduce the number of people present during bid submission and delivery.

In the process of designing a platform for the private sector to offer goods and services available.

Non-perishable food delivery services.

Challenges:

Escasez de recurso humano capacitado para el diseño de convenios marco de productos o servicios útiles para hacer frente a la pandemia.

Assistance Required:

Information about products and services (technical specifications and others) that could be uploaded to the virtual store which is part of the framework agreement.

Institution:

Organismo Supervisor de las Contrataciones del Estado

Framework Agreements in Place :

Yes, disaster response.

Actions and solutions implemented:

Immediate direct Procurement, by entities directly linked to the health emergency, with supervision ex-post.

PeruCompras procuring health products in bulk.

Dialogue with WHO to procure tests.

Procurement of pneumococcal vaccines.

Challenges:

Problemas históricos relativos a la capacidad de los compradores, pero se han adoptado medidas para involucrar a la agencia de compras y entidades especializadas.

No han identificado problema de abastecimiento por ahora.

Assistance Required:

At this time, the government has already implemented measures and they are under execution.

Framework Agreements in Place :
0
Actions and solutions implemented:

Use of uncommitted funds.

Fragmentation of contracts to evade thresholds.

Challenges:

Falta de procedimiento específicos para atender la emergencia.

La compra directa no ha resultado conveniente, lleva días y los precios no están disponibles.

Procesos muy largos para procesos administrativos como redistribuciones y cambios de uso de fondos.

El proceso de pago no cambia con la emergencia.

Incremento de precios conforme los bienes se vuelven más escasos.

Dependencia del exterior para mantener los equipos médicos complejos.

El proceso de reembolso del BM para asistencia por emergencia es inaccesible debido a procesos locales.

Assistance Required:

Information on estimated funding required to confront the threat of COVID-19.

Framework Agreements in Place :
0
Actions and solutions implemented:

Activation of the national emergency response plan.

Additional purchase of personal protective equipment.

Stakeholder engagement meetings.

Technical support from PAHO, CARPHA and Public Health of England.

Contingency funds to support the crisis responses.

Challenges:

Vulnerabilidad a las importaciones que vienen en su mayoría de US.

Disrupciones a la cadena de suministro.

Desabasto de alimentos, agua, insumos para la salud, insumos de limpieza.

Dificultad para obtener cotizaciones y poca respuesta de los proveedores.

Restricciones para envíos.

Compras de pánico.

Assistance Required:

Identify offer and suppliers of essential raw materials, and supplies.

Institution:

ACCE

Framework Agreements in Place :
0
Actions and solutions implemented:

Flexibilities in procurement regulations to deal with emergencies.

Replacement of face-to-face requirements with virtual options at different stages of the procurement process.

Flexibilities in the intervention of the supreme audit institution in procurement related to emergency response.

Centralized procurement of medical devices.

Possible reduction of tariffs on imports of drugs and supplies related to virus treatment.

Credit aid to companies affected by the decline in economic activity levels.

Extension of the deadlines for payment of public fees.

Economic aid to vulnerable sectors and direct delivery of food in their homes to children attending to public schools.

Scientific and academic working groups generating inputs for the health system (artificial respirators, test kits, etc.).

Challenges:

El trabajar rápida y coordinadamente para sustituir etapas presenciales tradicionales por procesos electrónicos.

Assistance Required:

All the technical cooperation that can be received in these instances it would be of great added value.