Fighting bid rigging or collusive tendering conduct has been a priority of the Competition Commission Brunei Darussalam (CCBD) as this anti-competitive conduct causes great harm to the government budget and the economy.
Consistent with the CCBD’s focus against bid rigging or collusive tendering to promote competitive public procurement processes, the CCBD launches Bid Rigging Awareness campaign to enhance knowledge among public procurement officials or agencies on the risks and preventive measures to deter anti-competitive conducts in public tenders.
With government projects and contracts representing a significant amount of the public expenditure and commercial opportunity for businesses in the economy, the CCBD advises public procurement officials to be alert to potential bid-rigging conducts in the procurement process for public tenders.
The CCBD has received several inquiries since Section 11 Anti-Competitive Agreements or Cartels came into force in January 2020.
Specific to the procurement process, issues revolving around tender design; sole distributorship; joint tendering; subcontracting; open tendering; fronting companies, and pre-bid meetings were discussed.
“It was observed that tender design by the procurement agencies plays a significant role in ensuring a more competitive procurement process. Such effort also ensures fair opportunities for the SMEs to participate in public projects,” said the commission.
To date, six advocacy sessions specifically on bid-rigging have been conducted with the ministries.
The sessions gave focus to the roles of procurement officials in detecting and preventing bid-rigging and ways to report any suspicions of bid-rigging conduct to CCBD.
Meanwhile, three sessions were held specifically for vendors and businesses registered under the respective ministries, to underscore the serious offence of bid-rigging under the Competition Order and its harmful effects.
In addition, three workshops focusing on bid-rigging were also carried out as a collaborative approach with ministries to prevent bid-rigging.
The workshop explored concepts, best practices and preventive measures, as well as the potential of e-procurement system in substantially reducing the risk of collusion in a public procurement among bidders.
Several ministries have come forward to discuss issues related to potential bid-rigging in public tenders. CCBD urges for more detailed information and substantive data to facilitate assessment or investigation.
The Bid Rigging Awareness campaign includes releasing a series of posters to raise awareness of the risks and preventive measures from the outset of a tender process.
The CCBD also calls for collaborative efforts with government agencies to prevent bid-rigging. Requests for dialogue sessions are encouraged and can be made through the Executive Secretariat via email at email@example.com.
“Prevention is better than cure. The CCBD encourages public procurement officials to be knowledgeable about ways to prevent bid-rigging in achieving efficient use of government resources and to safeguard the public interest,” it concluded.
For further inquiries, the CCBD can be contacted at 2233344 ext 230 or 341 or 343.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN