Inter-American Development Bank:

Efforts to Improve Procurement Procedures

NSIAD-91-126: Published: Mar 14, 1991. Publicly Released: Mar 20, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Inter-American Development Bank's procurement practices, focusing on: (1) its procurement policies and procedures; (2) its studies regarding its procurement policies and procedures; and (3) whether the U.S. government was aware of any procurement problems within the Bank, and if so, its efforts to bring about any needed reforms.

GAO found that: (1) Bank regulations usually required borrowers to use competitive selection and bidding procedures open to firms from all member countries; (2) personnel in the Bank's field offices enforced such regulations by reviewing each contract before authorizing Bank financing; (3) U.S. and Bank officials did not fully assess how effectively the Bank's procurement policies and procedures ensured competition; (4) data indicated that the U.S. share of Bank-financed procurement has declined, and U.S. officials believed that the decline was due to such factors as increased competition from member countries; (5) in 1988, U.S. officials requested that the Bank conduct a comprehensive appraisal of its procurement procedures, and after reviewing its procurement system, Bank management revised some procedures to improve its competitiveness; (6) the U.S. Executive Director to the Bank planned to study the Bank's procurement issues independently from Bank management; (7) in September 1990, the Department of the Treasury completed its assessment of Bank procurement, and consequently recommended numerous improvements to the Bank's procurement operations; and (8) it believed that Treasury's recommendations were appropriate for Bank consideration.

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