Electronic auctions latest to face axe in high-profile corruption drive

Electronic auctions latest to face axe in high-profile corruption drive

Replacing electronic auctions (e-auctions) with e-bidding and e-markets for state procurement will remain on track from Oct 1 to avert corruption and suppliers' price collusion and improve transparency, says the Comptroller General's Department.

E-auctions, used for almost 10 years, require suppliers to bid for contracts at a specific place, allowing them to get to know one another and opening up opportunities for them to collude in driving prices down, director-general Manas Jamveha said.

E-bidding and e-markets have been created to stem the e-auction's loopholes, as state agencies' trading partners interested in selling products through both systems must register at the department's website before putting their products' details and prices in an e-catalogue.

With the e-catalogue system, government agencies will be able to compare product prices and quality before making purchases, while their trading partners can also see prices proposed by others.

E-bidding is the procurement system for complicated products, while the e-market is for common goods. E-bidding and e-markets will be used for all procurement by state agencies after their pilot projects, which started on Feb 16, have proved a success.

E-auctions were launched in 2005 under ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Under this system, every government procurement worth 20 million baht or more must be undertaken via an e-auction.

"The department has launched more than 100 training courses for the new procurement systems and posted their processes on YouTube to educate both public and private sectors," Mr Manas said.

"The new systems are also in line with the digital economy policy."

A corruption clampdown is high on the government's agenda. 

In a related development, the Comptroller General's Department yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with 15 banks to provide electronic guarantees and electronic payments for documents used in e-bidding and e-markets.

Banks are expected to earn 20 billion baht a year from e-guarantee and e-payment services.

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