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Big push for electronic bidding   2012-07-13 - VNS

Viet Nam plans to strongly develop and expand its e-bidding system from now to 2015, building on lessons learnt during a three-year trial period.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment is currently implementing a real e-bidding project, not on trial basis as was done earlier, said Le Van Tang, head of the ministry's Bidding Management Department.

The new project would facilitate expansion of the system in the country, adding new functions like e-shopping, e-contracting and e-payments, he said.

The department would upgrade technological infrastructure to support and improve the e-bidding system, and a strong domestic technology company would be chosen to manage and support the project.

"We will boost announcements of bidding information to contractors. Initially, we will tender projects of small value, which we think will be more effective. High value projects cannot be bid for on the Internet at this time" said Pham Thy Hung, another senior official from the department.

Several officials said at a conference recently that e-bidding was an inevitable trend with many advantages, especially in limiting illegal bidding cases.

They said it has been applied in many countries in the world, helping the Government and concerned companies save money and time. In Viet Nam, however, not many companies were ready to use it, they added.

The lack of adequate technology infrastructure and an imperfect legal framework are cited as the main reasons.

"Low Internet speed and capacity is a worry for contractors. We are still nervous using e-bidding. The nervousness goes only after our bid has been successful" said Ngo Dinh Luyen, managing director of the ADT Application and Development Electronic Technology Co.

The company's marketing executive, Ha Thi Thuy Hai, confirmed that they had successfully deployed e-bidding for four to five projects, but these did not involve big sums of money.

She said the process was much faster and easier to use than normal bidding, but suspected that transparency it required might evoke resistance to apply it on the part of big players.

Nguyen Hong Anh, head of the Bidding Section of Vinaphone, said e-bidding was new in Viet Nam and contractors felt like a fish out of water at first. But this would improve over time, he felt.

The trial e-bidding programme began in 2009 at with support from the South Korean Government.

After three years of trial, about 1,700 tenders and 600 contractors have used the system. More than 30,000 bidding announcements have been published on the website, and 200 bids successfully executed.

The Planning and Investment Ministry has estimated that the Government can save billions of dollars if e-bidding becomes the norm in Viet Nam.

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