ProZorro online procurement provides open competition and counters corruption
School refurbishments, trolleybus tracks, hospital food, cleaning services for libraries and snow-plough equipment to keep the roads free in the winter: these are just a few of the endless goods and services that need to be purchased on behalf of the people of Ukraine.
And ever since they took to the streets in 2014 demanding reforms, making sure that the procurement system for these goods and services is one that can be trusted has been a priority.
The EBRD has therefore worked together with Transparency International, volunteers, the European Union and partners to develop an open online procurement system, ProZorro. The project is supported by the Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Sweden and the EBRD Ukraine Stabilisation and Sustainable Growth Multi-Donor Account (Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union, the largest donor).
The name of the system says it all: “Prozorro” means “transparent” in Ukrainian.
It’s an online platform, via which businesses can place their bids. At the same time, everyone can check who has participated in the bidding process.
“This has been a major step for building a more transparent system in Ukraine, which has delivered tangible results for businesses and for the everyday lives of citizens,” said Matteo Patrone, the EBRD’s Managing Director, Eastern Europe and Caucasus.
We work to build a better investment climate and to counter corruption in Ukraine. ProZorro is one example – it’s an open online procurement system.
Ballet shoes, train interiors, workers’ outfits and much more…
Ukraine’s National Opera is just one institution where transparent procurement has taken centre stage. It is a hub of activity: ballet dancers swirl through their exercise room, opera singers try to hit glass-breaking high notes, actors rush into new outfits and back on stage.
“The National Opera purchases materials for making costumes, ballet shoes, musical instruments, printing, cleaning and security services,” explains Yevhen Kundel, head of the Opera’s Tender Committee.
These are all services which the Opera obtained through ProZorro – and with good results for both quality and savings, he added. By now, it has saved UAH 2,400,000.
It also means new opportunities for businesses. Tekstil Kontakt, a large fabrics supplier, is one of them. The company offers more than 30,000 items to both businesses and individual clients, explained Viktor Krof, head of its Tender Department.
The Opera has become one of Tekstil Kontakt’s clients. But the company was able to expand its activities by offering its goods through ProZorro, he explained: bedlinen for hospitals, textiles for train interiors and uniforms for workers at Izmail sea port, to name only a few examples.
New business opportunities
Some 12,000 businesses participated in public tenders before ProZorro started in 2015. The number has increased to more than 150,000 businesses since. A large majority are the small and medium-sized enterprises that are seen as a vital engine to build a dynamic economy.
Back in the Opera, surrounded by colourful costumes, plastic lances and large curtains in the prop room, Mr Kundel stressed how ProZorro has helped to expand the organisation’s supplier base: “We are now working with local businesses and companies which would not have thought of cooperating with the National Opera before.”
At the same time, he stressed the much wider benefit of the improvements brought by ProZorro for Ukraine: “This project greatly contributed to transparency in the public procurement system”.
“We are going forward with the public procurement reform and maximum transparency even to sectors such as defence or healthcare. Free access to information in open data format of OCDS, helps to retain the trust of business, increase competition and improve efficiency,” explained Andrii Borovyk. Executive Director at Transparency International Ukraine.