Some time ago, I have tea with a friend who happens to be a Singapore government official. He was amazed by our procedure of procurements which has led to so much of abuses year in and year out.
He told me that in Singapore, anything that is above $3000 must go through a procurement procedure that is designed to prevent abuses and wastage.
If any department needs to buy anything above that value, it has to prepare a proposal listing the requirements, the needs and the probable items in the market and submit that to a evaluation committe. The evaluation committe will look through the proposal, and see whether there is a real need for such items and whether there is a cheaper alternative to the proposed items. It will then pass its recommendation to a procurement team.
The procurement team will look at the various products in the market s and invite tender or bidding. It will then look through all the submitted bidding, and make an recommendation. The recommendation will go back to both the department concerned (the end-product users) and the evaluation committee. when all three agree, the procurement team will then purchase the item/s. It sounds tedious, but apparently, it works quite fast as long as the 3 parties concerned do not drag their feet. It can be a matters of days or weeks before a things can be procured.
I googled for the actual procedure and there is in fact a site on this procurement procedure. Go to this link:
Once such habit of going for the best items with the best pricing was formed, even for items less than $3000 would be bought with careful thought and often items procured are really ‘value for money’.
Little wonder why the little red dot has one of the lowest leakage and wastage in the world, along with Hong Kong.
Instead of pledging to take action against those errant civil servants every year after the Auditor General’s report was published, what should be done is to revamp our procurement procedure and tighten the loopholes that civil servants used to buy at many times the market rate. Punitive action must also be taken instead of issuing a warning letter, as in most cases in the past.