Gov’t agencies told to review planned procurement for this year

THE Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) told procuring entities (PEs) to review their planned and ongoing procurement for this year to determine which will be discontinued following the orders to tighten their belts issued by the Budget department earlier.

“For those to be continued, PEs shall review the existing project requirements to ensure that the same cover only what they need and can actually implement within the year,” the GPPB’s Resolution No. 09-2020 read.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued Budget Circular No. 580 last month saying that 35% of the budgets of state agencies will no longer be released in order to source funds for the national government’s responses to the ongoing public health emergency.

The DBM also ordered agencies to review the programs that will have their allotted budgets cut.

Amid the restrictions imposed as part of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the GPPB also allowed online or electronic submission and receipt of documents for procurement, and recommended that its online portal be further developed so online submission and receipt of bids can be accommodated, to expedite processes.

It also urged PEs to use communication technologies such as videoconferencing and webcasting in their meetings and other processes as a workaround given the mobility restrictions observed during the lockdown period.

“Given the exceptional circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the ECQ and the suspension of mass public transport services, both the PEs and bidders are finding it hard to continue with the conduct of procurement activities and thus, PEs are at risk of exceeding the maximum calendar days allowed for the specific procurement activities,” it said.

The GPPB, through the circular, authorized the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) to suspend procurement activities that were interrupted by the lockdown period and resume only once the situation allows. — Beatrice M. Laforga