Gender-Responsive Public Procurement Urged at BUILD-ITC Policy Dialogue

To increase women’s participation in government procurement in Bangladesh, the Central Procurement Technical Unit (CPTU) of Bangladesh, Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD), and the International Trade Centre (ITC)’s SheTrades Initiative organized a virtual policy dialogue on “Gender-Responsive Public Procurement in Bangladesh: A New Methodology” on February 3, 2021. The dialogue took stock of the outcomes of previous dialogues and presented a newly developed methodology by ITC to create a gender-responsive roadmap for public procurement in Bangladesh.

Having welcomed the participants, Director (Joint Secretary) of CPTU Md. Aziz Taher Khan said that the presence of women tenderers in the meeting is a clear testimony in favour of developing a gender-responsive public procurement in Bangladesh.

The Government has made the Public Procurement Act, a new set of Public Procurement Rules and Citizen Portal EGP System to improve performance of public procurement with more transparency and ensuring fair treatment to all. We have seen that the presence of women in public procurement is not adequate. Yet, the discussion gives some indications about the way forwards for developing a gender-responsive public procurement in Bangladesh in the coming days for enabling women-owned businesses (WOB) to access markets and working closely with both private and public sectors to develop tools and knowledge to prioritize gender equality in business opportunities, said the CPTU Director.

Ferdaus Ara Begum, CEO, BUILD informed that governments spend USD 9 trillion on public procurement every year. This can account for approximately 10-15% of GDP in developed countries and up to 40% GDP in developing countries. Women account for only 1% of public procurement opportunities worldwide. The participation of women entrepreneurs in the public procurement system is very insignificant in Bangladesh because of the knowledge and skills gap. To facilitate the Bangladeshi women entrepreneurs in the public procurement system in Bangladesh, she emphasized initiating an effective Gender Responsive Public Procurement Road Map to accommodate the WEs in the existing system.

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