Skip Navigation
Afghanistan

Implementing Open Contracting (AF0012)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Afghanistan Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: National Procurement Authority

Support Institution(s): Integrity watch Afghanistan, Open Contracting Partnership, World Bank, Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organization, and Transparency International Afghanistan, All Procurement Entities

Policy Areas

E-Government, Open Contracting and Procurement, Open Data

IRM Review

IRM Report: Afghanistan Design Report 2017-2019

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Theme: Open Data and Citizens’ Monitoring in Public Procurement
Publication and use of contracting information based on open contracting (i.e. open data, feedback loops
and systemic reforms) and the Open Contracting Data Standard in order to pave the path for citizens’
participation in contract decision making and facilitation of citizen-centered governance.
Title: Implementing Open Contracting
Commitment Start and End Date
(E.g. 30 June 2015 - 30 June
2017)
New commitment
(1 Jan 2018 - 31 August 2019)
Lead implementing agency National Procurement Authority
Name of responsible person from
implementing agency Marzia Naderi
Title, Department System Development Manager
Email marzia.naderi@aop.gov.af
Phone 0093 (0) 744 363 507
Name of responsible person from
implementing agency Waheedullah Stanikzai
Title, Department Assistant Expert
Email stanikzai91@gmail.com
Phone 0093 (0) 788 618 430
Other Actors
Involved
Government
Ministries,
Department/Ag
ency
All Procurement Entities
CSOs, private
sector,multilate
rals, working
groups
Integrity watch Afghanistan, Open Contracting Partnership, World
Bank, Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organization, and
Transparency International Afghanistan
Status quo or problem addressed
by the commitment
Lack of involvement of citizens and other stakeholders in government
contracts, procurement processes (procurement plan, contracting, and
contract implementation), and unavailability of clear and well defined
mechanism for publishing procurement information and government
contract lifecycle are the main causes of lack of adequate
accountability of authorities to citizens which has led to a widespread
systematic and systemic corruption in procurement system that has
widened the gap of mistrust between citizens and the government.
Moreover, absence of transparency in the procurement processes has
resulted in lack of sense of ownership of citizens for the contracts
being implemented and has decreased the public monitoring of the
contracts. However, in some cases, it is even impossible for public
monitoring due to lack of access to public procurement data and
information.
These problems have, not only, contributed in reduction of quality of
projects, but also, have led in wastage of financial resources, and thus
decreased the utilization rate of government budget.
As a result, we can summarize the consequences of lack of
transparency in procurement processes in the following three areas:
● Inability of gaining the optimal rate of return from the
investments done through implementation of contracts and not
achieving value for the money being spent;
● Monopolization of contract monitoring processes by
government and unavailability of an adequate mechanism and
platform for public monitoring of services provided to
citizens.
● Lack of complete transparency in procurement processes have
made it difficult for citizens, civil society, and other
stakeholders to identify corrupt public and private officials to
monitor their activities and to take corrective and preventive
actions for improvement of these officials performance.
Main objective
The main objective of this commitment can be summarized in the
following points:
· Accessibility to information for paving the way for citizencentered governance
· Ability to increase public monitoring of the procurement
processes
· Reduction in corruption in procurement processes and taking
corrective and preventive actions
· Increase value for money by improving the service delivery
for procurement processes
Brief description of commitment
The National Procurement Authority, as a sole policy maker in the
public procurement sector of the country, signed a trilateral
memorandum of understanding with Integrity Watch Afghanistan
(IWA) and Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) on the sidelines of the
Anti-Corruption Conference held in London, England, in 2016. Based
on that, NPA is committed to provide the mechanism and platform to
publish public procurement information and documents activity for the
interested stakeholders.
The National Procurement Authority is developing a system in
accordance with the Open Contracting Data Standards (OCDS), to
publish contract-related information in machine-readable format.
NPA is committed to publish these information in the following five
stages based on OCDS, Afghanistan Procurement Law and Rules
Procedure with direct involvement of Procurement Entities:
1. Project Planning
2. Project Bidding
3. Contract Award
4. Signed Contract
5. Contract Implementation
In addition, this organization is committed to develop a dedicated
procurement portal through which the procurement entities are able to
enter the contract related information using their accounts and publish
and share the information with citizens.
It is worth mentioning that the disclosing of this information only
covers the supply side of contracting information, the demand side of
this information and involvement of citizen in monitoring and pushing
the Procurement Entities in publishing timely information to increase
transparency and value for money is led by Integrity Watch
Afghanistan. NPA commits to working closely with IWA and other
stakeholders to ensure the information disclosed is accessible, useful,
and used by interested parties.
OGP challenge addressed by the
commitment
As everyone knows, the public procurement makes up to nearly 20%
of gross domestic product-GDP in the country and approximately 50%
of budget of government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is spent
through procurement.
Therefore, reform in public procurement has been the core topic in
Afghanistan Government’s agenda. Since establishment of NPA, a
huge amount of Afghanistan’s high officials’ time have been invested
in procurement reform. Further, the former head of NPA, current
Minister of Public Works Yama Yari, played a key role in
Afghanistan’s joining the OGP, and open contacting was cited in the
country’s letter of intent to join the OGP.
Moreover, transparency in procurement processes (in the various
procurement stages) will not only assist in achieving the goals of
reform, but will also enable the Government of Islamic Republic of
Afghanistan to fulfill its commitments to the international community.
It will also contribute in reducing corruption in the procurement arena
and push the private and public authorities to improve the service
delivery based on the accepted principles and standards.
Clearly, with the implementation of this commitment, the Government
of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan can create transparency in contract
signature, and contract implementation and as a result, it creates
accountability in contracting process.
Through standardized publication of information using the technology
will pave the path for citizen-centric government which is one of the
essential values of open governance.
Relevance
The following results are expected to be obtained by fulfilling this
commitment and publishing timely and required information of
contracts in the specific portals with unconditional access with no time
and geographical restrictions to citizens:
1. Providing the opportunity for public monitoring and citizencentered governance will pave the way for increased sense of
ownership for public project and continual and objective
monitoring. Moreover, this in turn will led to improve in
quality of project, increase value for money, and timely
implementation of project for better and effective utilization
of government budget.
2. Providing transparency in procurement processes and
publishing the information in all stages of procurement
processes will provide information to the private sector on the
investment opportunities, challenges in contract
implementation, service delivery rate and other contracts
related issues. By gaining this information, the private sector
will be able to take informed decision on their investments, as
well as whether or not to bid on public contracts, and deliver
services with high quality in a standardized manner.
3. Contracting information collected at different times and
different areas of Afghanistan are stored in one place, allowing
the researchers, specialists, students and other interested
organizations to access and use this information to conduct
accurate research in order to provide feedback to government
and ultimately improve the service delivery of public projects.
Moreover, by providing machine-readable data, the
researchers and technical companies can analyze the data and
use it for making more informed decisions.
Ambition
Through this commitment, the Government of Republic of
Afghanistan is committed to accomplish and achieve:
· Active engagement of public, CSOs, government agencies,
and researchers in procurement processes
· Active disclosure of linked procurement processes
information to assists the private sector in taking informed
decision in investment, provide relevant information for
researchers and academicians to conduct their research
easily, and pave the way for better service delivery as public
monitoring increases and pressurize the relevant authorities
to conduct their jobs on time and efficiently.
Milestone
Activity with a verifiable deliverable and completion date
Start
Date:
End
Date:
Implementation of OCDS on contract stages and contract implementation 01 June
2018
30 Sep
2018
Together with CSOs, co-development of a pilot program to engage CSOs in the
monitoring of public contracting for integrity, value for money and fairness.
1 Oct
2018
30 Nov
2018
Implementation of OCDS on procurement plan stage 1 Oct
2018
30 Dec
2018
Implementation of OCDS on Bidding and contract award stages 01 Jan
2019
30 June
2019

IRM Midterm Status Summary

12. Implementing Open Contracting (addendum)

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“Lack of involvement of citizens and other stakeholders in government contracts, procurement processes (procurement plan, contracting, and contract implementation), and unavailability of clear and well defined mechanism for publishing procurement information and government contract lifecycle are the main causes of lack of adequate accountability of authorities to citizens which has led to a widespread systematic and systemic corruption in procurement system that has widened the gap of mistrust between citizens and the government.

The National Procurement Authority, as a sole policy maker in the public procurement sector of the country, signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding with Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) and Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) on the sidelines of the Anti-Corruption Conference held in London, England, in 2016. Based on that, NPA is committed to provide the mechanism and platform to publish public procurement information and documents activity for the interested stakeholders.

The National Procurement Authority is developing a system in accordance with the Open Contracting Data Standards (OCDS), to publish contract-related information in machine-readable format. The main objective of this commitment can be summarized in the following points:

  • Accessibility to information for paving the way for citizen- centered governance
  • Ability to increase public monitoring of the procurement processes
  • Reduction in corruption in procurement processes and taking corrective and preventive actions
  • Increase value for money by improving the service delivery for procurement processes
Milestone activities and verifiable deliverables
  • Implementation of OCDS on contract stages and contract implementation
  • Together with CSO’s, co-development of a pilot program to engage CSO’s in the monitoring of public contracting for integrity, value for money and fairness.
  • Implementation of OCDS on procurement plan stage
  • Implementation of OCDS on Bidding and contract award stages”

Start Date: January 2018              End Date: August 2019

Editorial Note: This is a partial version of the commitment text. For the full commitment text from the Afghanistan National Action Plan see: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Afghanistan_Action-Plan_2017-2019_EN_UPDATED.pdf

Context and Objectives

The main objective of this commitment is to make procurement-related information accessible to citizens across various stages of the procurement process through online portals and digital archives, while increasing public monitoring of procurement processes and contracts and reducing corruption therein.

Procurement processes play an important role in public service delivery for citizens, including in the areas of health, education, and criminal justice. In Afghanistan, survey data suggest that 19% of GDP and nearly 50% of the national budget is spent through public procurement. [118] Lack of involvement of citizens and other stakeholders in governmental contracts, however, has led to widespread corruption in the procurement system, widening the mistrust gap between citizens and the government. [119]

Following the establishment of the National Unity Government (NUG) in 2014, Afghanistan took a series of steps to reform its national procurement system. A series of presidential decrees in 2014 dissolved and merged some procurement-related authorities and established the National Procurement Authority (NPA) under the Administrative Office of the President as the central policymaking body for national procurement. [120] The Procurement Law was subsequently ratified and published in the official Gazette on 7 October 2015. [121] Despite the NPA signing a MoU in 2016 with Integrity Watch Afghanistan, procurement plans and contracts have historically not been open to active monitoring by citizens. [122]

The NPA is currently developing a more open procurement system in accordance with the Open Contracting Data Standards (OCDS) to publish contract-related information in machine-readable format. The NPA will implement the OCDS at various stages in the contract cycle and will test a pilot program with CSOs’ engagement in monitoring public contracts. The NPA plans to engage as many as ten CSO’s apart from IWA, introduce the portals to them and provide training on monitoring. By opening up information about public contracts, the goal is for CSO’s and citizens to function as a pressure point in making government more accountable. [123]

This commitment corresponds to the OGP value of access to information, as well as technology and innovation for transparency, because it enables citizens to view the status of all public contracts through OCDS and the public can access openly all the public contract related information. The official interviewed by the IRM Researcher stated that NPA has dedicated a team of its employees to oversee and respond to comments they receive from citizens via internet. [124] Additionally, the commitment is relevant to civic participation because CSOs will co-develop with government a pilot program for their engagement in direct monitoring of procurement and contracting processes.

This commitment is verifiable; however, it does not specify procedures for CSOs participation in monitoring. For example, can CSOs participate in monitoring any type of procurement contracts or are there legal barriers and limitations? If so, what are they and how can they be justified or overcome? The commitment also lacks details on what exactly the pilot program will look like or how it will engage CSOs in co-developing the program.

If fully implemented as designed, this commitment will have a transformative potential impact, where it will provide an opportunity for CSOs and the public to monitor the government’s procurement plans and procedures, considered to be one of the most corrupt sectors in the government with the involvement of the high level public officials. [125] A CSO representative affirmed that this is one of the most important and relevant commitments to the OGP values, with direct implication on transparency, accountability and public participation. [126] However, in his view the government officials do not pursue the commitment as seriously as they should. The IWA representative has an optimistic view of this commitment’s potential impact, particularly of its establishment of co-creation practices between government and CSOs for development of the pilot monitoring program. [127]

Next steps

Considering that this is a rather technical commitment, stakeholders would benefit from receiving a detailed report on the status of the OCDS’s development and progress. The MSF could then decide whether this commitment should be carried over to the next action plan or whether it would have already reached its intended goal within the first action plan.

If the commitment continues to the next action plan, it could:

  • Define clear procedures for how CSOs can participate in the monitoring phase.
  • Set metrics surrounding timeframe for expansion to all government ministries, or metrics surrounding cost savings. Correspondingly, the commitment could consider a set of information sessions to all governmental ministries.
  • Consider awareness raising campaigns among citizens, particularly on how they can monitor and/or register a complaint.
[118] IRoA, National Procurement Commission (n.d.). Introduction. Retrieved on November 28, 2018, from http://www.npa.gov.af/en/introduction
[119] National Action Plan, Open Government Partnership Afghanistan (OGPA), 2018-2019. Accessed on January 22, 2019, from https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Afghanistan_Action-Plan_2017-2019_EN_UPDATED.pdf
[120] Ibid.
[121] IRoA, Ministry of Justice (7 October 2015). Law on Procurement. Retrieved on November 28, 2018, from http://atra.gov.af/Content/files/Procurment%20Law15_07_1394.pdf
[122] Personal interview, System Development Manager, National Procurement Authority, 22 October 2018, Kabul.
[123] Ibid.
[124] Ibid.
[125] Skype (follow up) interview, Director, Afghanistan Democracy and Development Organization, 14 March 2019, Kabul and Italy
[126] Ibid.
[127] Skype (follow up) interview, Director of Advocacy and Communication, Integrity Watch Afghanistan, 13 December 2018, Kabul and Italy.

Commitments

  1. Mechanism of Public Partnership in Inspection Process

    AF0001, 2017, Capacity Building

  2. Law on Processing, Publishing and Enforcing Legislative Documents

    AF0002, 2017, Legislation & Regulation

  3. Courts to Address Violence Against Women

    AF0003, 2017, Gender

  4. Public-Police Partnership Councils

    AF0004, 2017, Capacity Building

  5. Registering Assets of Government Officials

    AF0005, 2017, Asset Disclosure

  6. Scheme for Establishing Health Service Accreditation Entity

    AF0006, 2017, Capacity Building

  7. Urban Improvement National Policy

    AF0007, 2017, Infrastructure & Transport

  8. Protection Policy for Women Under Conflict and Emergency Situations

    AF0008, 2017, Gender

  9. Civil Society Monitoring Plan for Education and Higher Education

    AF0009, 2017, Education

  10. Plan for the Establishment of a Joint Committee Overseeing the Implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy

    AF0010, 2017, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  11. Strengthen the Information Mechanism in 60 Governmental Agencies

    AF0011, 2017, Capacity Building

  12. Implementing Open Contracting

    AF0012, 2017, E-Government

  13. Public Participation in Road Network Projects

    AF0013, 2017, Infrastructure & Transport