Feb 21, 2017 (LBO) - Sri Lanka will be making its public procurement more efficient and transparent with the introduction of an electronic system, the minister of finance said. "Electronic Government Procurement (E-GP) makes public procurement more strategic and serves as an effective innovation to institute procurement reforms," Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake said. "It will also boost performance in terms of efficiency, transparency, competition and fairness. It will bring value for money as well." The minister was addressing the inaugural session of a four day conference titled "Electronic Government Procurement (e-GP) in South Asia: Achievements, Opportunities and Challenges,” held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo on Monday. “At the World Bank, we are committed to procurement reforms with a view to improving market efficiency and better service delivery,” Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, country director for Sri Lanka, World Bank said. “It is well understood, and illustratable with examples from many parts of the world, that weak procurement systems steer investments away from development and hence minimize the impact on poverty reduction and shared prosperity.” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and several top level local and foreign speakers also addressed the conference. This annual learning, knowledge and experience sharing event is organized under the auspices of the South Asia Region Public Procurement Network which comprises senior public procurement officials from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Speaking further, Karunanayake said that this conference is hosted at the right time as the World Bank indicated its support to introduce an electronic government procurement system in the public sector. Karunanayake also said the World Bank, USAID, Asian Development Bank, European Union, JICA and several other development partners have agreed to help Sri Lanka in number of Public Sector Finance Management reforms. He said that the discussion to be held in this conference and the subsequent recommendations will help tremendously for all participants’ countries in implementing better public procurement system thereby facing existing challenges and improving efficiency and transparency in the system.