2. TYPES OF COMPETITION
Consistent with the procurement principles cited in the previous section, the neutrality, economy and efficiency of a procurement process can be only be achieved by ensuring a competitive playing field among prospective offerors to a requirement. Similarly, the UNDP Financial Regulations and Rules (Rule 121.03) emphasize the reliance on competition on as wide a geographical basis as practicable and suited to the market circumstances, as basis for the procurement of goods and services.
Depending on the nature of the requirement, and the total contract value involved, UNDP adopts any of the following types of competition :
2.1 Open International Competition
The purpose of opening competition to the international market is to provide equal opportunity to the universe of eligible vendors.
An open international competition can be achieved by initiating a public advertisement of the procurement opportunity in any or any combination of media (print or electronic/digital) that are accessible globally and freely by any interested entity from both the national and international markets.
At a minimum, in order to establish the openness of the competition to the international market, the following conditions must be met :
(a) The procurement opportunity was advertised or published in UNDP’s corporate website (i.e., procurement advertisement page of www.undp.org) ;
(b) The same was posted in the UN Global Marketplace (i.e., www.ungm.org); and
(c) The advertisement for both venues lasted for a minimum continuous period of two (2) weeks.
As part of due diligence, it is also expected of buyers to supplement the advertisement with market researching efforts aimed at expanding the competitive field. Such efforts may include, but need not be limited to, the following :
(a) Proactive search and identification of entities known to be specialists or reliable sources of the requirement and directly notifying them of the opportunities by pointing them to the site of the advertisement; and
(b) Proactive search and identification of websites or journals of wide circulation and readership among the targeted market, whereby the procurement opportunity can also be strategically advertised.
When a prequalification process is undertaken through an open advertisement that meets the above requirement, typically as a preliminary step to an ITB or RFP process, then the competition that will transpire between and among shortlisted eligible offerors from such a prequalification process is still considered an open international competition.
2.2 Limited International Competition
Limited international competition is conducted by narrowing the competitive field into a short list of prospective offerors pre-determined through a non-discriminate assessment of eligibility and evaluation of qualifications that establish their ability to meet the requirements of UNDP. Such a process may be done through various sourcing methods, such as :
a) Use of existing rosters;
b) Shortlisted entities from previous rounds of prequalification or EOIs from another selection process but the nature of the goods/service is similar with the current requirement;
c) Previous vendors of known satisfactory performance;
d) Obtaining referral of vendors from other UN agencies who may have previously purchased such goods/services/works;
e) Trade books and online database that are publicly accessible;
f) Advertised call for Expression of Interest (EOIs); and
g) Conventional business directories, in printed versions or electronic/web-based resources.
All prospective offerors in the shortlist are directly invited by UNDP to submit an offer, using the standard documents and instructions of UNDP, as may be embodied in an RFQ, RFP or ITB.
This mode of competition is appropriate for any of the following circumstances :
a) Contract value is relatively low (i.e., less than US$ 100,000);
b) The market is regulated, controlled or the industry is very oligopolistic, and it is publicly known that there is only a limited number of entities that can meet the requirement, and who those few entities are, and all of them must be directly invited to submit an offer;
c) Other exceptional reasons that may justify or rationalize departure from open international competition, as may be allowed by the Chief Procurement Officer.
Where limited international competition is applied, BUs must continue to endeavour to ensure that a sufficient number of prospective offerors are invited, and that at least three (3) offers are received and evaluated, in order to establish value-for-money. Where this minimum number of offerors is not achieved despite all efforts, a written explanation or justification shall be recorded by the BU.
Narrowing the competitive field to only to a certain region or any list of countries comprising a subset of the world, for whatever justifiable reasons, is considered as limited international competition.
2.3 National Competition
While international competition is the preferred mode of procurement in UNDP, national competition may be generally allowed when the value of the requirement is less than USD 100,000, and when any one, or any combination of the following circumstances, also exists:
a) The required goods/services/works are available locally at about the same or lower prices compared to those of comparable quality from the global market place; or
b) The requirement is for construction works that are expected to be geographically scattered in various parts of a country, intensive on the use of local labor, and the country has a sufficient base of contractors that have the qualifications and competence needed to complete the works; or
c) The services needed require a substantive depth of knowledge and understanding of the local environment, culture, language, socio-political dynamics, or national systems in place that an international entity cannot possibly possess; or
d) There is a very low probability that an international entity will be interested in submitting an offer, or partnering with the national entities, so that the administrative and financial cost of opening to the international market will not yield any benefit to the selection process.
Where such limitation to local sources is pursued, UNDP staff must justify this restriction of competition in writing, and include this in the procurement documentation.
If advertisement is desired, publication may be limited to any or all media (print or electronic/digital) that are accessible freely nationwide.
Notwithstanding the above, any international entity that may wish to participate in a procurement opportunity applying the national competition must, at all times, be allowed to do so.