In the opening phase, the national competitive bidding (NCB) method will be conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB), along with relevant agencies in the country over 15 bidding packages worth more than $71 million in projects funded by the two banks.
Bid notices and invitation documents for online packages will also be posted on the Vietnam National E-Procurement System (VNEPS), and bidders will compile and submit their dossiers online.
According to the ADB, when accessing online bidding, parties will have to post all information regarding their technical and financial capacity, the contracts that they are or have implemented, and on their equipment and human resources.
All of the information will also be recorded on the VNEPS, so that bidders can re-use the information to partake in other packages. This is an obligatory requirement for all bidders when they engage in packages funded by the two banks.
“We are supporting the e-government procurement system so that public procurement in Vietnam can benefit from advantages in transparency, efficiency, increased competition, and therefore lower prices that have been witnessed in similar systems in other countries,” said Alexander Fox, the ADB’s principal procurement specialist.
The ADB recently assessed the system and found that in many cases stakeholders were conducting paper-based procurement following traditional procedures and practices in parallel with e-procurement.
“This means that the administrative burden of procurement had actually increased, which compromises the benefits of the electronic version and the motivation of stakeholders to use it,” Fox said. “Now, the ADB and the World Bank are working with the government to use the e-procurement system to secure national competitive bidding contracts funded by the banks. I do believe that with such comprehensive efforts, the full benefits of e-procurement, in terms of improved competition, transparency, efficiency and economy, will flow to the citizens of Vietnam.”
The two banks and the Public Procurement Agency under Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment are now planning to hold an online bidding module introduction for NCB procurement and packages in projects funded by the two banks on March 26.
Earlier, thanks to smooth co-operation between the agency and the two banks, modules for online bidding for these packages were built and integrated into the VNEPS in January.
The VNEPS, operated by the national e-procurement centre, was introduced on a trial basis for six years and officially put into operation nationwide in 2016.
According to the agency, online bidding can help minimise negative acts like cheating, collusion, or obstruction in the bidding process. It also can keep information about prices and bidder names absolutely secret before packages are put out to tenders.
Under the prime minister’s Decision No.1402/QD-TTg dated July 2016, by 2025 all bidding information will have to be announced on the VNEPS, all procurements will be conducted online, and at least 70 per cent of the bidding packages under the revised Law on Bidding will have to go digital.
However, results from the agency showed that last year, the number of bidding packages conducted online by many ministries, agencies, and localities remain quite limited. Many units even failed to implement online bidding for any package. For example, last year Vietnam Railway Corporation conducted tender for 239 bidding packages with the total value of VND595 billion ($25.9 million), but no package was implemented online.