Posted on 16 November 2018.
While public procurement is estimated to account on average for
15-20% of GDP in developing countries and about a third of national government budgets, it is also one of the areas most vulnerable to corruption. The large value of the transactions and interaction between government officials and private sector representatives exposes the public procurement sector to high risks of corruption. Preventing and combating corruption in public procurement is central to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public services, and achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Following similar workshops in Myanmar, Indonesia and Cambodia, targeting identified corruption-prone sectors in countries, UNODC conducted a
training on identifying and preventing corruption risks in public procurement on 3-4 July 2018 in Ha Long, Vietnam, together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In Viet Nam, 70% of the population live in rural areas. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development covers the areas of fisheries and forestry, as well as the implementation of infrastructure projects on a local and rural level. The Ministry spends annually US$800,000,000 for procurement of goods and services in the agricultural and rural development sectors, and corruption in public procurement has been identified as one of the main challenges to more effective public spending in Vietnam. Representatives of various ministerial departments of eight provinces participated in the training. These departments typically procure agricultural equipment and infrastructure (e.g. roads, markets, irrigation systems, watershed development, rural electricity).
Most common examples of procurement fraud in agriculture were identified, such as over-pricing of funds for research in agriculture, procurement of seeds and machinery that are not needed or not suitable for agriculture, over-pricing of procured seeds and machinery, or bid rigging. Common red flags in all stages of public procurement, including pre-tender, tender, contract management and execution, were identified to subsequently develop corruption schemes and mitigation measures. During the training, participants finalized their action plan with clear timelines and lines of responsibility for each department of the MARD.
Reflecting on the training, Mr. Dao Van Thanh, Deputy Chief Inspector of the MARD, noted that the training was very useful with 'the use of new tools to prevent corruption to take place in public procurement'.