Preventive measures to detect collusion in public procurement is crucial in ensuring best goods and services at the lowest price, enhancing efficient allocation of government resources.
This was highlighted by the Executive Secretariat of Competition Commission of Brunei Darussalam (CCBD) during a Competition Order dialogue session at the Ministry of Defence last week.
The dialogue focussed on bid rigging, one of the core anti-competitive conducts prohibited by the Competition Order. The session was attended by over 40 officials from various departments, including the ministry’s procurement division.
The session was part of CCBD’s on-going efforts to enhance awareness on the benefits of competition towards a sustainable economic growth in the long term through prohibiting anti-competitive conducts by businesses.
The session emphasised the prohibition of collusive tender and how procurement officers can play an important role in preventing and detecting collusive tender, to achieve potential savings.
Officials representing the CCBD underscored that bidding processes are designed to provide competitive areas to achieve better value for money in procurement activities hence facilitate the enhancement of government saving.
The competitive process works, when competitors set prices honestly and independently. When competitors collude, prices are inflated and consumers are cheated. The most frequent examples of collusion in public procurement include arrangements in which bidders decide the winner alternately or also known as bid rotation.
One form of bid collusion is bidders strategically withdrawing from tenders or submit higher or less attractive bids so the pre-determined winner is awarded the tender. The session draws an example of a regional case which revealed a bidder preparing and submitting tender document for its competitors to coordinate the bidding prices.
The session followed with a discussion on the application of Competition Order and steps to be taken in deterring collusive tender. It was advised for any suspicion on collusive tender to be forwarded to the Executive Secretariat of CCBD for further assessment before decision to launch investigation.
The session ended with a presentation of guidelines booklets and leaflets titled ‘Frequently Asked Questions on Competition Order’ and ‘Understanding and Detecting Bid Rigging in Public Procurement’ published by the CCBD.
The session was led by Acting Director of Competition and Consumer Affairs as the Executive Secretariat to the CCBD Heidi Farah Sia binti Abdul Rahman.
The Executive Secretariat of CCBD can be reached by email at email@example.com or call 2233344 extension 230 or 341 or 343 for any inquiries and requests for briefings on the Competition Order.