Corruption in procurement is a serious issue in Pakistan. The formation of PPRA (Public Procurement Regulatory Authority) is the first sincere effort to take some control of the situation. The rules designed by PPRA provide a broad regulatory framework for transparent public sector procurements and are applicable to all public sector departments of central government. A strict compliance of these Rules can lead to a transparent and accountable process of procurements in public sector. The following are some of the areas where departments do not adhere to the PPRA rules & regulations:
(A)Rudimentary checks to follow the rules and regulations
Despite these efforts, challenges in combating corruption in public sector procurements still lie ahead of PPRA in many departments of government. Most of these challenges concern the loopholes in the regulation of procurement frameworks. A number of departments have only rudimentary checks to follow the rules and regulations set by PPRA.
(B)Procurement procedures are often dispersed
In many departments, procurement policies and procedures remain too often dispersed in several areas, executive orders, or not abiding by the guidelines and great discretion is left to the lower staff of the administration. Conflicts with PPRA regulations and between numerous executive orders sometimes render these frameworks vulnerable to ambiguity.
(C)Departments exempt certain procuring entities from the application of procurement rules
All departments have orders to follow procurement regulations set by PPRA but they do not apply these to certain procurement orders, reasons well-known to everyone. Some departments exempt certain procuring entities or certain goods and services from the application of procurement rules. These exempt areas may constitute very large proportions of public purchases. However, substitute rules that override the defined principals of procurement framework in these exempt areas seldom exist.
(D)Planning or implementation is not regulated
Often, planning or implementation is not regulated at all according to Public Procurement Rules, 2004, these procurement phases also often escape the scrutiny of auditors and the general public. Hence, the fight against corruption in procurement is still in rudimentary stage and the only hope to combat corruption is the strict application of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority Ordinance 2002, Public Procurement Rules, 2004, Procurement regulations of PPRA.