Remarks by Angel Gurría
Mexico City, Mexico, 9 January 2018
(As prepared for delivery)
Madam Secretary of the Civil Service, President Commissioner of the National Institute on Transparency, Freedom of Information and Personal Data Protection, President of the Confederation of Chambers of Industry, Permanent Representative of Mexico at the OECD, Deputy Ministers, Members of the Plural Working Group on Public Procurement, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It gives me great pleasure to be with you to launch the OECD’s Review of Mexico’s e-Procurement System, CompraNet, one of the Mexican State’s most important tools.
CompraNet is the result of a joint effort that is notable first for the Secretary of the Civil Service’s openness to hearing feedback from the various CompraNet-related groups, and secondly for the contributions from the business and social sectors, autonomous bodies and Federal Government procurement units which, when combined, produced a comprehensive assessment of the challenges facing CompraNet.
Since it was first used in 1996, the CompraNet system has been gradually improved in response to changing technology and the needs of its users, from Federal Government contracting authorities to suppliers and even researchers using information gleaned from the system to monitor and assess public procurement performance. In reality, CompraNet has developed from being merely a tool for publishing tendering procedures and documents into a platform with a transaction capability allowing businesses to submit bids in a tendering procedure or e-auction.
Despite these changes, electronic platforms such as CompraNet obviously have to be upgraded periodically and are continually evolving. The upgrade process is even more important when the changes are supported by stakeholders with an interest in improving the public procurement system, as was the case with CompraNet. In this review, stakeholder engagement has helped not only to shape the challenges facing CompraNet and the recommendations for improvement, but also to fashion a forward-looking vision for the system underpinned by consensus on principles such as transaction capability, transparency, accountability, competitiveness and integrity.
Improving CompraNet is important because of the significance of public procurement to the Mexican economy – it accounts for around 21% of government expenditure and 5% of Mexico’s GDP. The use of electronic tools curbs wrongdoing, especially in a sector as vulnerable as public procurement. Some 57% of cases of foreign bribery in OECD Member countries are associated with the award of public contracts.
The study we are launching today identifies a number of challenges and opportunities for CompraNet. Allow me to highlight some of them.
First, the system still does not cover the full public procurement cycle – its usefulness for the phases prior to and after bidding is still limited. Secondly, although work is currently under way to achieve the interoperability of CompraNet with other government systems such as those used for the budget and programming [for example the Accountability and Budget System (SICOP)], there is still some way to go before the systems and data can be linked. This is a huge opportunity, especially in view of the forthcoming launch of the National Anticorruption System Platform. There are also issues around the quality and format of the information uploaded to CompraNet that make it impossible to reuse data.
In view of these and other challenges, the review recommends aligning the e procurement strategy with a broader programme of reforms that could include public procurement policy, the business climate and human resources for public procurement.
Our recommendations also include standardising public procurement data using internationally accepted standards such as the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) which, incidentally, is already being used successfully in the project for the new international airport for Mexico City. The review also recommends broadening the reach and transaction capability of CompraNet to the pre-and post-bid stages.
Finally, the report includes a roadmap, agreed with the participants of the Plural Working Group on Public Procurement, to implement the recommendations in the short, medium and long term.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Now it is time for the hard work to begin! The delivery of the recommendations will be reflected in changes to institutions, in behaviour, in culture and even in the law. Even though the realisation of these changes will require time and determination, we must ensure that the new CompraNet does not fail.
I congratulate the Secretary of the Civil Service for her leadership in making an immediate start on this work, and the social, business and governmental organisations for their enthusiastic participation. The OECD will continue to support Mexico in delivering these reforms and in monitoring their progress. Thank you.