Mauritius has made significant strides in bolstering its public procurement system, but there is room for improvement in electronic procurement and capacity-building for practitioners.
These are among the findings of an assessment report the African Development Bank launched virtually on 15 February from Port Louis, the capital. The bank undertook the study in partnership with the Mauritius government using the MAPS(link is external) framework, a universal standard for evaluating public procurement systems.
The report also provides recommendations for the government’s next steps in implementing the reforms.
Bhagwansingh Dabeesing, a member of the Procurement Policy Office ( PPO) and member of the assessment team, said the government would draw an action plan for short-, middle- and long-term implementation of the recommendations once cabinet approves them.
Mauritius performed well in terms of governance and in demonstrating a strong political commitment to enhance its e-procurement system, which it rolled out in 2015. The report finds that the island nation has a well-established and accessible legal and regulatory public procurement framework and has put strong ethics and anti-corruption measures in place.
The assessment also revealed critical gaps. These include a stipulation concerning mandatory participation by local companies, which may restrict foreign bidders on public contracts. It notes that the mechanism to appeal decisions is currently not incorporated in the electronic procurement system and that the process of selecting and awarding contracts is often protracted.
Some of the report’s recommendations are already being put into action. For instance, in November 2022, the government contracted a legal expert to conduct an exhaustive review of the public procurement legal framework. The African Development Bank is supporting this effort with a grant of $134,013, part of which will also fund the alignment of the legal framework with the e-procurement system.
The PPO has partnered with a local technical university to roll out a post-graduate project certificate course for managers of capital projects in March 2023.
The PPO is also expected to begin working closely with the national anticorruption agency to integrate corruption and collusion screening tools into the e-procurement system, the use of which is now mandatory.
Mauritius is also moving to make public procurement more sustainable by factoring socioeconomic and environmental considerations into its system.
The African Development Bank launched the report during a weeklong mission to Mauritius led by Director of Fiduciary Services and Inspection, Frank Mvula. During the visit, the report’s findings were shared with the Mauritian private sector and other stakeholders. The bank team also met with representatives of partner organizations in the country.