(PRESS RELEASE) — On July 2, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Department of Finance, Esther Rigobert, signed a five-year contract with a British firm, In-Tend Ltd. (www.in-tend.co.uk/) in the amount of USD$110,000 for the provision of an Electronic Government Procurement (e-GP) application for the Government of Saint Lucia.
The contract was awarded following an international competitive selection process conducted under the procurement regulations of the World Bank (WB), which is administering a grant from the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom.
The award of this contract marks the culmination of a sustained programme of cooperation between the Government of Saint Lucia, WB, and DFID in the area of public procurement reform. This programme included a reform of Saint Lucia’s legislation and regulations, the development of standard procurement documents for future use by all government agencies in the award of publicly-funded contracts, and the preparation of the government’s e-GP strategy, which resulted in the award of a contract to In-Tend.
In-Tend is one of the world’s leading providers of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) e-GP applications to governments, with more than 500 institutions in over 100 countries around the world currently using its applications. SaaS is a method of software delivery and licensing in which software is accessed online via subscription, rather than bought and installed on individual computers. The SaaS solution procured by Saint Lucia will run the government’s e-GP application in the cloud, thus bringing the added advantage of climate resilience, as the hardware and software used for the government’s e-GP application will be beyond the reach of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods.
In developing its e-GP strategy, the government considered the multiple options that are available for implementing e-GP systems, from building its own system, using a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) platform, to building a system following a SaaS approach, each option presenting its own risks, benefits and costs.
The government’s choice of a SaaS approach was based on a well-founded business case, taking into account its business needs, its internal capacity to implement and manage the system, and the projected investment and time necessary to implement and maintain the system. The chosen SaaS approach enables the government to move swiftly to migrate its procurement operations to an electronic platform, with a relatively modest initial investment, while immediately accessing the full functionality of In-Tend’s solution, including e-tendering, e-auction and sophisticated data analytics tools.
Moving to electronic procurement will immediately deliver several important gains for the government. Principal among these is making public procurement procedures faster and transparent while improving the competitiveness of public procurement by increasing access of private-sector companies to opportunities for winning contracts with the government. In addition, procuring electronically will reduce transaction costs for both the bidders and the government, as transactions will be conducted entirely online, and will ensure that the government realizes the maximum value for the public funds expended.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Department of Finance, Ms. Esther Rigobert, indicated: “The introduction of e-GP will undoubtedly afford a greater appreciation of the procurement expenditures of the government, which will help guide policy formulation. In addition to improved efficiencies in contracting, project implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, information on contract awards will be readily available for analysis. The system will allow the government greater insights into public procurements, thus allowing for a more strategic approach to planning future procurements. The level of transparency afforded by such a sophisticated system is expected to boost the confidence of both the general public and the supplier market. With Improved confidence, we are anticipating a more competitive supplier market, which will undoubtedly result in discernable benefits to the government and people of Saint Lucia.”
The e-GP System implementation has commenced and testing of the localized system is expected by August 2020, with user training to commence by September 2020. The expectation is that the pilot phase will go live by the end of September 2020.
To support government agencies in implementing the new system, the contract with In-Tend includes the provision of training for public officials in using the e-GP module. The Department of Finance will also set up an e-GP Support Unit to assist government agencies and bidders in their use of the system. At the same time, the government is moving ahead with preparations for the promulgation of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act (No. 19 of 2015). The promulgation of this legislation and the roll-out of the government’s e-GP solution will complete the modernization of the government’s public procurement system and will place Saint Lucia at the forefront in the Eastern Caribbean region.
For further information please contact the Procurement Administration Office at the telephone number(s): 468-5522/5516.