MTender digital procurement system – Moldova

MTender is a revolutionary tool which will transform the way public funds are spent in Moldova, a country with a long history of corruption.

The world’s first fully digital public procurement system, MTender uses open data to manage every element of the public contracting system. This enables officials to do their jobs better, citizens to hold the government to account, taxpayers to get a better deal, and businesses to compete on a level playing field.

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Moldova has been trying to reform its public procurement system for over 20 years. This would make government more efficient, ensure taxpayers get value for money, reward businesses that want fair competition and foster innovation. It would also help tackle the corruption and cronyism in the procurement sector which costs Moldovan citizens up to US $183m each year. EBRD has supported the Ministry of Finance throughout this process. Drawing on its expertise in business intelligence, the bank has developed world’s first fully digital public procurement system, which was introduced in 2017. It should allow the country to leap ahead of others in ensuring public funds are spent wisely and accounted for properly.

Building on the success of the Prozorro system in Ukraine, MTender is designed to make the awarding of public contracts more open, efficient and accountable at every stage of the process. It uses open, clearly structured data that enables better processing, accounting and auditing throughout the procurement cycle. It was jointly developed by civil society, government, business and IT companies, and has now been made available to all key central government ministries. The service is free of charge to all public sector and commercial buyers in Moldova.

At present:
14067 electronic tenders are advertised on the system; 2195 electronic tenders are being processed;6209 contracts have been generated, signed and made publicly available via MTender;1170 public sector and commercial buyers are actively using MTender to procure goods; 2430 suppliers are openly bidding for contracts on MTender.

It will soon be rolled out across government, and is already delivering a range of benefits:

1.For government and citizens:
It uses internationally approved data standards to make government processes much more efficient & has adopted the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) as a starting principle, allowing users in any government department to extract consistent, reliable and machine readable data directly from public procurement transactions. Data can then be interrogated and re-purposed by other government departments, businesses and civil society. Officials managing and auditing the procurement system can perform tasks in minutes that take their peers in other economies several days. Public sector and commercial buyers have saved over US 1m using electronic bidding.

It reduces corruption and builds trust in government institutions and officials. MTender means all public tenders are accessible online, and every public procurement decision is openly published in real time. Auditors can monitor and counteract risks and inefficiencies in the system in real time. Citizens can monitor who gets a contract, what they paid for it, what connections they have, and whether they are suitable for the job.

It helps public and private sector collaborate and share costs. MTender is a community of stakeholders – it enables business, civil society and government to work together to deliver quality public services to the people of Moldova. The government shares administrative costs with commercial platform operators and charges a single flat transaction fee for users.

It uses Open Source technology to reduce costs and improve efficiency. The application of Open Source principles in building the government’s central procurement database and the web portal of the MTender reduced the cost of the system by an estimated 30 per cent, and prevented the Ministry of Finance being locked into a single IT provider.

2. For business
It increases competition and innovation. By making all public tenders available online, MTender removes all barriers to companies except their suitability to do the job. This creates opportunities for SMEs and encourages them to innovate. This means Moldovan citizens get better companies to deliver key public services like education, transport and health care.

It encourages foreign investment. By creating a level playing field for businesses to operate, MTender encourages foreign direct investment and a transition to a thriving market economy. The more investors see the benefits MTender brings in terms of transparency and accountability, the more confidence they will have to invest more.

It’s inclusive. Creating more open markets for public contracts drives economic growth and opens up new opportunities for groups who are poorly represented within established economic structures and systems, like women. This creates more opportunities and brings more potential employees, leaders and ideas into the market for public contracts. It fosters inclusion, innovation and sustainable economic growth.

With a clear plan in place to roll this out across government, the early payoffs should increase exponentially. Government can deliver substantive reforms for its own people and show the rest of the world what is possible in applying open government principles to public contracting processes.

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Year: 2017
Organisation Type: International Organisation

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