NAM Concerned About Changes In World Bank Procurement Policies

The National Association of Manufacturers has joined six leading trade associations in a letter pressing the World Bank to provide for greater transparency and private sector input as it considers changes in procurement policies. In an exclusive to U.S. Industry Today, Patricia Mears, the NAM’s director of international commercial affairs, said, “It is difficult to see how the World Bank’s anti-corruption goals can be advanced by changes they are proposing to their procurement process.”
“After several promises that the private sector would have opportunities for input, the World Bank is trying to slip some significant changes into its procurement process without any consultation with the private sector on these changes,” Mears continued to U.S. Industry Today. “The NAM has serious concerns about the World Bank’s proposal to introduce the use of individual country systems as a substitute for current World Bank high-standard procurement guidelines. This proposal is scheduled for Board consideration without the agreed-to consultation with private sector stakeholders”

The June 5 letter outlines the associations’ strong concerns about the process and substance of the World Bank’s Status Report, “Use of Country Systems in Bank Supported Operations.” Specifically, it calls for a meeting with private sector representatives before the May 2007 Status Report is considered by the Bank’s Executive Directors, and that the report be available online for public comment.

“What’s ironic is that at a time when the Bank is increasing its focus on transparency and anti-corruption, they are turning back the clock to a proposal similar to one that Congress staunchly opposed two years ago due to just these concerns,” Mears said in a press statement at the time of the letter announcement. In March 2005, Congress voted to withhold a portion of the Bank’s U.S. funding if the controversial country systems proposal were to be implemented.

“Beyond the transparency issue, the current report doesn’t include specific details about the methodology that will be used to assess and implement the country system,” Mears said. “It also ignores the private sector feedback on the shortcomings of previous proposals designed to ensure that individual country systems sync with overarching standards. By not welcoming feedback from the private sector, the World Bank is eliminating transparency and good governance from this process.

The letter is available at: http://www.nam.org/s_nam/bin.asp?CID=46&DID=238768&DOC=FILE.PDF


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