Chisinau, 5 December 2019 — Most government buyers and bidders who use Moldova’s transparent public procurement system MTender say it is more convenient than the country’s old system, a new survey shows. The poll was conducted by the global independent non-profit Open Contracting Partnership with the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and commercial MTender electronic platforms.
To tackle corruption and attract more suppliers to the public procurement market, Moldova began piloting the radically transparent e-procurement system MTender in 2017. Since its full launch in 2018, when the system became mandatory for all public procurement, MTender has allowed Moldova to save 14% on competitive tenders (saving €25 million) and its supplier base has increased by 30%.
The survey looked at the level of satisfaction and experiences of 112 companies using MTender to find and bid on tender opportunities as well as 126 contracting authorities (out of the system’s total 6580 users).
The following findings stand out:
- Over 70% of both contracting authorities and businesses consider it useful for their work. The higher the level of contact with the system, the more users found it helpful.
- Companies and government agencies using MTender assess it positively. 57% of contracting authorities and 63% of companies are “satisfied” or “quite satisfied” with the system. Only 19% of users said they are dissatisfied.
- More than 63% of users reported that the system was more convenient than the paper-based procurement system. 73% of companies and 65% of contracting authorities said that MTender significantly saved time and financial resources.
- 60% of business representatives and 62% of contracting authorities think that the implementation of the new system has made it easier to carry out and participate in public procurement. If the participants had previous procurement experience, their assessment was more positive.
Finally, the survey asked about the perceived change in corruption in public procurement. Results seem to indicate the introduction of MTender had a positive anticorruption effect. Some 39% think the level of corruption has decreased, while one out of five users think MTender has not influenced the level of corruption in procurement. Only 5% of users think that corruption has increased.
Users also highlighted the challenges with public procurement in Moldova. The most common concerns mentioned by businesses surveyed included requests for non-mandatory documents by contracting authorities, incorrect estimates of the tender value, and perceived manipulation by the contracting authorities when selecting winners or disqualifying bidders. Contracting authorities noted that tender announcements cannot currently be listed under more than one product category, a lack of regulation on how the system works, and some technical limitations.
About open contracting in Moldova
Moldova’s open contracting efforts are supported by the World Bank and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) technical cooperation project and the helpdesk of the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP). The helpdesk has been assisting the developers of MTender to publish data according to the Open Contracting Data Standard. The EBRD has provided training to businesses, buyers in using MTender to conduct procurement, and civil society to monitor the process. At the same time, OCP has worked with local CSOs to use open contracting data as part of their program efforts. One local organization, Positive Initiative, is implementing an open contracting project with the support of OCP’s Lift impact program to increase the efficiency of medicine procurement in Moldova.
About the Open Contracting Partnership
The Open Contracting Partnership is a silo-busting collaboration across governments, businesses, civil society, and technologists to open up and transform government contracting worldwide. We bring open data and open government together to make public contracting fair and effective. Spun out of the World Bank in 2015, we are now an independent not-for-profit working in over 30 countries around the world. We help make reforms stick and innovations jump scale, and foster a culture of openness about the policies, teams, tools, data, and results needed to deliver impact.