Corruption in purchasing is a serious problem in Pakistan. The formation of the PPRA (Public Procurement Regulatory Authority) is the first sincere effort to gain some control of the situation. The rules developed by the PPRA provide a broad regulatory framework for transparent public procurement and are applicable to all public sector departments of central government. Strict adherence to these rules can lead to a transparent and accountable procurement process in the public sector. Here are some of the areas in which departments are not following the rules and regulations of the AIPP:
(A) Rudimentary controls to follow rules and regulations
Despite these efforts, the challenges of fighting corruption in public sector procurement still await the PPRA in many government departments. Most of these challenges relate to gaps in the regulation of procurement frameworks. A number of departments have only rudimentary controls to follow the rules and regulations established by the PPRA.
(B) Procurement procedures are often dispersed
In many departments, procurement policies and procedures too often remain dispersed across multiple areas, executive orders, or off-guideline and great discretion is left to lower administration staff. Conflicts with PPRA regulations and between numerous executive decrees sometimes make these executives vulnerable to ambiguity.
(C) Ministries exempt certain procuring entities from the application of procurement rules
All departments have orders to follow the procurement rules set by the PPRA but they do not apply them to certain purchase orders, reasons well known to all. Some ministries exempt certain procuring entities or certain goods and services from the application of procurement rules. These exempt zones can constitute very large proportions of public procurement. However, there are seldom any substitute rules that supersede the defined principles of the procurement framework in these exempt areas.
(D) Planning or implementation is not regulated
Often planning or implementation is not regulated at all under the 2004 public procurement rules, these phases of procurement are also often beyond the control of auditors and the general public. Therefore, the fight against corruption in public procurement is still at a rudimentary stage and the only hope of fighting corruption is the strict implementation of the 2002 Ordinance on the Regulatory Authority. Procurement Rules, Public Procurement Rules, 2004, PPRA Procurement Rules.