Gov’t plans online portal for P1.3-T supply purchases
MANILA -A P1.3-trillion online marketplace for the government will soon roll out in the style of Shopee and Lazada amid efforts to unclog bottlenecks in purchasing supplies and equipment, according to Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman.
She said in a statement that the planned system, called “eMarketplace,” will bring onboard “competent and reputable suppliers” and is part of proposed improvements to the 20-year-old Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act of 2003.
Pangandaman recalled that this law, enacted 20 years ago, was envisioned to address the lack of transparency and competition, eliminate collusion and political interference, and lessen delays in the procurement process.
This “was one of the biggest anticorruption laws in the country, which was, in fact, recognized by no less than the World Bank as a world-class [piece of] legislation,” she said.
“However, there has been a rapid transformation in technology over the past two decades, and the pandemic propelled the urgency for digital transactions in the country,” she added.
The budget chief further said that just as households, during the pandemic, enjoyed the convenience of buying goods directly through e-commerce platforms like Shopee and Lazada, so would the government through eMarketplace.
This platform is aimed at doing away with the long, tedious procurement process that has caused delays in the government’s delivery of products and services.
Still, eMarketplace will continue to require suppliers to comply with identified legal, technical and financial requirements to be able to include their offered goods in the system.
Pangandaman said procurement issues have an adverse impact on public service delivery.
“Procurement affects us every day, not just us the government, but the Filipino people,” she said. “We have also been hounded by controversies linked to the Philippine procurement system.”
The budget chief said that up to 25 percent of the national government’s yearly budget represents purchases. For 2023, allocations for procurement total at about P1.3 trillion.
In the second quarter this year, the Philippines’ gross domestic product grew by only 4.3 percent instead of the widely expected 6 percent. This was partly blamed on a 7-percent contraction in government spending.