World Bank unveils new procurement framework

19 Aug 16

The World Bank unveiled its new procurement framework in Sri Lanka yesterday, which it said will help countries make the most of their public spending, strengthen national policies and improve development objectives.

The bank said the “more flexible, efficient and transparent” framework will be pioneered by countries in south Asia, starting with a bank-financed project for power systems in India followed by projects in Sri Lanka.

The framework, which will be used in projects backed by the bank, allows it to better respond to its client’s needs and work more closely with them in improving their own procurement systems, while preserving robust standards, according to the bank’s statement.

It will include an online tracking and monitoring tool to speed up procurement processes, promote transparency and accountability and facilitate procurement-related complaints.

“We are committed to put our resources and energy to help our clients and development partners to focus on outcomes rather than rules and procedures,” said Robert Hunja, director of governance at the World Bank’s Global Practice.

The new “flexible” framework, governed by six core principles including value for money, fit-for-purpose, efficiency and integrity, marks another effort by the bank to strip back some of the rules and regulations that it fears are making it less attractive to some clients.

The rise of alternative development banks such as the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, whose approach offers greater agency to clients and less stringent conditions on its lending, have put pressure on the World Bank to adapt to a changing market.

Earlier this month the World Bank approved new environmental and social safeguarding standards, which will govern all future projects.

The bank said the new standards brought its operations into the 21st century, while campaigners argued that the change gutted three decades of vital, hard-won protections for some of the world’s poorest people. 

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