Today, the World Bank and Kazakhstan's Ministry of Finance jointly presented the results of the assessment of Kazakhstan's public procurement system to a broad group of stakeholders including representatives from the government, the private sector, and civil society.
Over the last decade, the understanding of public procurement has evolved from an administrative and compliance-based task into a strategic and performance-oriented government function that involves the active participation of multiple stakeholders including civil society and the public-at-large. This has resulted in the emergence of a new generation of public procurement system reforms, with an emphasis on improved procurement outcomes and performance, enhanced oversight and accountability, efficient anti-corruption mechanisms, innovative approaches to procurement, big data analytics and artificial intelligence, and the third party and public oversight.
Kazakhstan is constantly expanding opportunities for effective linkage of the public procurement system with the overall public financial management and governance systems. To further enhance public participation in decision-making and monitoring of budget execution, Kazakhstan - first among CIS countries - turned to international organizations for the analysis of the remaining challenges and recommendations for future improvement.
The World Bank launched the assessment in 2018 jointly with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Islamic Development Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. Using a universal methodology for assessing procurement systems (MAPS), experts reviewed the following pillars: legal and regulatory framework, institutional framework and management capacity, procurement operations and market practice, and accountability, integrity, and transparency.
"Efficient public expenditure is critical as countries spend about 15-20 percent of GDP on the acquisition of goods, works and services for public programs and investment projects," says Jean Francois Marteau, World Bank Country Manager for Kazakhstan. "Thus, initiation of this collaborative exercise is a timely opportunity to help accelerate the implementation of modern, efficient, sustainable and inclusive public procurement systems in Kazakhstan."
Today, the government procurement system in Kazakhstan does not cover procurement of all goods, works, and services using public funds, as there are separate procurement rules for the quasi-state sector, as well as for the Sovereign Wealth Fund Samruk-Kazyna. This lack of uniformity and universality of the legal framework coverage does not allow for better predictability, efficiency, and savings in the operation of the country public procurement system. Thus, the key recommendation of the assessment focuses on the improvement of the unified coverage.
To assess the performance and value for money, as well as transparency and fair competition, the study recommends a comprehensive review of the existing procurement rules of other entities.
Other recommendations include a revision of the current requirements for access to e-procurement system and participation in bidding to ensure proper alignment with the PPL which provides open eligibility to all bidders. The assessment also suggests a better use of quality-based procurement methods, improvements in contract management and performance monitoring, development of skills of the procurement workforce, and targeted measures to address corruption risks.