Mongolia initiates e-procurement rollout

By Rob O'Brien | 6 January 2011

Mongolia will take all of its government tendering online by the end of 2013 in an ambitious e-government programme.

Supported by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, all government contract bids will go through an e-shopping and e-bidding system which will be operational by the end of 2011.

Two government agencies have been selected to pilot an e-bidding scheme, but the programme is expected to be completed by the end of 2013, when all procurement will be conducted entirely online.

General Director of the Procurement Policy Department for the Ministry of Finance for the Mongolian Government, Gansogt Khurelbaatar, said that confidence in the way the government spends its own money is a central plank in the process of opening the country up.

“If a government can’t spend its money well and is corrupt, commits to bad projects and delivers bad services, it’s a sign of how this government works,” he told FutureGov Asia Pacific.

“If government spending is transparent, it’s a sign that the government can work.”

Mongolia had the world’s strongest performing currency in 2010 and through huge demand for its resources from neighbouring China, the government is aiming to create better investment conditions to bring much-needed foreign investment to the sparsely populated East and Mid-Central Asian country.

Khurelbaatar said that e-procurement did have its detractors within the public sector and would require a good ‘change management’ programme to highlight its benefits.

“A lot of people don’t want to bring in e-bidding because they don’t want the system to change – e-bidding will put an end to conflicts of interest and personal interest – most ministries will be against this.

A minister who thinks outside the box may be required to push the e-procurement agenda along.

Khurelbaatar said: “There is a general interest from the public to receive better services, currently they are not that good, it’s very bureaucratic, but if the government starts initiating better services the public will support them.”

He said the incentive to digitise Mongolia’s procurement was not solely about the cost savings, but also modernising data and overhauling the old way of doing things.

“Currently, everything is paper-based, if there is a bidding process, bidding documents have to be printed out and have to come back with printed copies,” he said.

“But this isn’t just about being paper-based; it’s more about transparency and availability of data reaching government.”

In Mongolia, as in other countries, data openness is a policy problem, but collating more information online will make it easily traceable and will eliminate barriers between government and business, and with it the corruption that seeps into a paper-based process, he said.

“It’ll help produce more data so we can track contracts through the system and find out why problems occur. I hope it will bring a lot positive outcomes to government spending.”


General Director of the Procurement Policy Department for the Ministry of Finance, Gansogt Khurelbaatar



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