On 3 August 2016, the British Embassy Bangkok hosted an exchange of letter ceremony and afternoon tea reception at the Ambassador’s Residence.
Welcoming delegates from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Thailand’s Comptroller General’s Department, the ceremony represented an acknowledgement between the respective organisations that improving transparency, professionalism and preventing corruption in public procurement not only contributes to a fairer and more competitive business environment in Thailand, but drives benefits for all its citizens.
The event initiates the latest project on ‘Improving transparency and preventing corruption in public procurement in Thailand’, which aims to provide technical support to the Royal Thai government in its efforts to reform the public procurement system, professionalise the public procurement workforce, and share Thailand’s experience with fellow ASEAN members.
Margaret Tongue, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy Bangkok, said:
As governments, we have an obligation to ensure our procurement practices are fit for purpose. Lengthy, complicated and opaque decision-making processes can make corruption more likely, so we should strive for the opposite.
…we have been working closely with Thailand to drive up the standards of public procurement. The Thai government has said that it wants to ensure Thailand’s public procurement system is in line with best practice and international standards, and we welcome Thailand’s efforts on this agenda, including the draft Public Procurement Bill. We believe that Thailand has the capacity to become a regional example of proactive public procurement reform, which will not only enable an attractive business environment for trade and investment in Thailand, but act as a catalyst for promoting transparency within ASEAN.
Ms. Chunhachit Sungmai, Advisor of Comptroller General’s Department, said:
We encourage transparency, accountability and efficiency in public procurement. Last year, fully electronic public procurement system has been developed and two new procurement methods were introduced, called e-market and e-bidding, which shall be interfaced with other related electronic system, such as Government Fiscal Management Information System and electronic banking.
As you know that Thailand is on the process of drafting the bill on public procurement bill.…..The Bill focus on transparency, integrity and value for money. Integrity pact, as a tool for preventing corruption in public contract, has also been enacted in the Bill. This will not only improve efficiency, transparency and value for money, but also eliminate possibilities of corruption in the area of public procurement.
Mr. Martin Hart-Hansen, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, said:
UNDP’s effort to fight corruption is in line with Thailand’s desire to create corruption-free society. UNDP is now shifting focus from small activity towards a focus on systematic change to ensure that we, despite limited resources, can make real impact and our efforts are institutionalized and practiced further by the Royal Thai government.
We are aware that we are only at the very beginning of the reform process. There are a long list of activities that will have to be developed, and more importantly be implemented consistently, before we can say that the reform was successful.
This project is one of a number of bilateral and regional projects funded by the new Cross-Government Prosperity Fund – the UK’s technical co-operation programme seeking to promote economic reform, development and prosperity in partner countries, creating conditions conducive to global growth.
Worth £1.3 billion over the next 5 years, the Fund’s priorities include improving the business climate, competitiveness and operation of markets; energy and financial sector reform; and increasing the ability of governments to tackle corruption. These reforms will drive sustainable development and create opportunities for international business.
In Southeast Asia, the Fund works with project implementers and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s network of overseas missions to support projects in its main markets of Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines – providing technical assistance, building capacity and sharing UK expertise and experience.
The Cross-Government Prosperity Fund