Lebanon’s public procurement is governed by an outdated and fragmented framework that is conducive to corruption and clientelism. It is one of the main structural challenges to local authorities’ institutional resilience which is preventing them from providing high-quality services in a cost-efficient and accountable manner.
This briefing paper provides recommendations to support Lebanon’s central government to overcome these challenges and ensure proper public procurement in line with the recent recommendations of the International Monetary Fund and the CEDRE conference.
Lebanon’s government should formulate a unified and comprehensive law based on internationally accepted management and procurement principles to limit mismanagement, corruption, and collusion in Lebanese administrations, including local authorities. Green and sustainable, as well as gender-sensitive procurement policies should be adopted to align public spending with good governance principles.
Another priority is the need for strategic procurement planning. The central government should ensure timeliness and transparency in managing the Independent Municipal Fund to enable local authorities to prioritise and plan their development goals before planning their procurement needs. Moreover, Lebanon’s Civil Service Council should create an official procurement position in all local authorities to apply and mainstream the strategic aims of public procurement in the work of local authorities.
Fair competition is essential for proper procurement, thus Local authorities should adopt Standard Bidding Documents (SBDs) to facilitate fair competition and ensure that all bidders have access to the same detailed and precise information, which could help in best using scarce budgetary resources and ensure the best value for money through a set of criteria known as the “Five Rights of Procurements”: right quantity, quality, price, place, and time.
To ensure accountability, local authorities should allow external observers to monitor the procurement cycle by attending the bid opening session and monitoring the receipt of goods and services. and fully implement the Access to Information Law.