New gov't procurement program to increase savings

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China will continue to increase the transparency of its central government procurement this year after the country saved 10.9 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion) by implementing centralized government procurement during the past five years.

The country will launch a pilot program to open the evaluation process of government procurement to the purchaser and supplier, reported People's Daily on Tuesday, quoting Chen Jianming, director of the central government procurement center.

Under the pilot program all suppliers will be checked and their names made public for external supervision, said Chen. The center will also develop and build an online bidding system, he added.

The move came after the country spent 64.8 billion yuan in government procurement by all central government departments in the past five years, or the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) period, according to figures provided by the center.

During the period, China introduced in all central government departments the centralized government procurement practice that helped save the public funds.

In China, government procurement has attracted public scrutiny because it is considered prone to corruption.

The National Bureau of Corruption Prevention will step up its efforts to oversee government procurement this year, said Cui Hairong, deputy chief of the bureau.

In addition, the country has included the buying of official vehicles in centralized government procurement to address concerns that there might be abuse of public funds connected with official vehicles.

Central government departments will give priority to the procurement of fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles, said Li Baorong, deputy chief of the Government Offices Administration of the State Council, a department overseeing the council's office affairs.

Li also said the departments will give priority to software made by Chinese companies.

The country also adhered to the policy of energy saving in centralized government procurement, making it mandatory for departments to buy energy-saving products and to give priority to environmentally friendly products.

Spending on energy-saving products totaled 8.4 billion yuan in the past five years, according to figures provided by the central government procurement center.

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