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ISLAMABAD: The Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) has decided to start E-Procurement System at the federal level, starting from two ministries from March 1, 2023, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

On February 20, 2023, PPRA Board was informed that PPRA intends to launch an e-Procurement System titled “E-PAK Acquisition & Disposal System (EPADS)”.

Under this system of Federal PPRA, the Authority, all Procuring Agencies and bidders shall use EPADS starting from planning to close of contracts in case of public procurement of goods, works, services and commercial transactions and shall also cover all the aspects of regulatory framework.

In exercise of the powers conferred under Section 27 of the PPRA Ordinance, 2002, proposed regulations on e-procurement prepared by the Authority are submitted for consideration and approval of the PPRA Board.

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One of the Board Members inquired whether PPRA has taken precautionary measures regarding cyber security threats in EPADS or otherwise as such systems are vulnerable to cyber security threats. PPRA Management informed that PPRA has procured Tier-III level cloud services from PTCL which is the most secure and all the data of EPADS will be hosted on that cloud. Moreover, in terms of the provisions of the EPADS contract, handling such cyber security threats is the responsibility of the service provider, i.e., M/s Abacus Consulting.

Another Board Member while appreciating the efforts of PPRA in development of EPADS system recommended that PPRA Management may request NTISB and NADRA to validate the EPADS system’s capacity to handle cyber security threats covering all the aspects of regulatory framework and the proposed e-Procurement Regulations.

MD PPRA highlighted that piloting of EPADS initially in two ministries, i.e., Ministry of Education and Professional Training and Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination is a mandatory requirement of the structural benchmarks and Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) of the World Bank “Program for Results” (PforR). He further opined that subsequently, EPADS will be rolled out to all the procuring agencies of the Federal Government from January 01, 2024.

Hence, the Board may like to approve the proposed Regulations on e-procurement and further allow MD PPRA to issue notification in this regard conveying that the two ministries shall use the EPADS from March 01, 2023 for all of their public procurements. The Board also directed the PPRA Management to update the Board on the implementation status of EPADS in every board meeting.

After detailed discussion, the Board decided to approve the regulations on e-procurement with few corrections and further directed the PPRA Management to get the EPADS system validated through NTISB to establish the EPADS System’s capacity to handle cyber security threats covering all the aspects of regulatory framework and the proposed e-Procurement Regulations.

The Board further informed PPRA management that selection of Divisions for pilot was not an agenda item and is the purview of MD to issue notification.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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