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Parliamentary Replies

Government Procurement Function Office's Role to Manage Global Inflation and Supply Disruption

15 Feb 2022

Parliamentary Question by Mr Yip Hon Weng: 

To ask the Minister for Finance since the Government Procurement Function Office was set up (a) what role has it played to manage the challenges of global inflation and supply disruption; and (b) what are the plans and targets to minimise procurement related lapses in the Civil Service, especially if the Government were to stockpile resources. 

Parliamentary Reply by Minister for Finance, Mr Lawrence Wong:

Managing the challenges of global inflation and supply chain disruption for Government procurement is a multi-agency effort, which includes using fiscal and monetary policies to mitigate the impact of inflation, and taking a multi-level approach to address supply chain resiliency:

a. At the national level, Government agencies collaborate to ensure that there is forward planning, diversification of supply and development of contingency plans; 

b. At the sectoral level, agencies overseeing the respective sectors are tasked to drive resilience outcomes for their sectors. For instance, GovTech engages the industry widely to promote participation in Government infocomm technology (IT) tenders, and ensures that sufficient diversity of suppliers are appointed in IT demand aggregated contracts; and

c. At the project level, agencies monitor their supplier concentration risk and strive to structure their procurement to avoid over-reliance on a small pool of suppliers. 

The Government Procurement Function Office (GPFO) in the Ministry of Finance works with agencies to establish the appropriate policies, systems and structures, and develop capabilities, to enable the Government to procure effecively, efficiently and in a publicly accountable manner.  For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, GPFO activated Emergency Procurement procedures which allowed agencies to more easily and quickly secure the necessary goods and services amidst global disruptions, while balancing the need to ensure financial governance. GPFO also worked with agencies to establish the framework for the Government to co-share reasonable cost increases experienced by our construction contractors during the pandemic to ensure essential projects are not too seriously disrupted.  

To minimise procurement lapses: 

a. GPFO is working on the consolidation of procurement teams across agencies to achieve the scale necessary to develop and sustain strong procurement teams. The pooling of expertise will enable these procurement teams to better manage large scale and complex procurement, including stockpiling or other means of managing supply chain disruptions. We have started the consolidation process with IT procurement and construction procurement, and will be expanding to other areas of buys. 

b. GPFO also sets standards on the competencies expected of procurement officers. The Finance and Procurement Academy has partnered the Civil Service College to develop the learning and development roadmaps. We have also stepped up training of non-procurement officers who are involved in various parts of the procurement process.

Our efforts to strengthen procurement is a continual process. We will continue to strike a balance between strengthening controls and ensuring that our procurement is agile and responsive to broader trends.