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Page 1 of 3
EUROPEAN UNION
DELEGATION TO THE HASHEMITE KINGDOM OF JORDAN
Speech by
Mr Andrea Matteo Fontana, Ambassador
La...
Page 2 of 3
other key infrastructure etc. The consequences of these are evident to
you all.
Thirdly, public procurement is...
Page 3 of 3
Let me conclude by reiterating also our continued support to Jordan's
endeavours to fight corruption in all se...
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Corruption risk assessment of public procurement in Jordan, SIGMA, Amman 30 January 2017 (Opening speech)

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Speech by Ambassador Andrea Matteo Fontana, EU Delegation to Jordan, launching ceremony of the SIGMA report on "Integrity risk assessment in the Jordanian Procurement System", 30 January 2017.

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Corruption risk assessment of public procurement in Jordan, SIGMA, Amman 30 January 2017 (Opening speech)

  1. 1. Page 1 of 3 EUROPEAN UNION DELEGATION TO THE HASHEMITE KINGDOM OF JORDAN Speech by Mr Andrea Matteo Fontana, Ambassador Launching Ceremony of SIGMA Report on 'Integrity risk assessment in the Jordanian Procurement System' 30th January 2017, JICC, Amman Your Excellency, Dr Abdel Hadi Alaween, Vice President of the Jordanian Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission, Distinguished guests, I would like to first thank the Jordan Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission for organising this conference together with SIGMA/OECD. We are here to review and discuss this important assessment of the corruption risks in the procurement system of Jordan and how to address them. Public procurement has a major impact on national economies. As the report we are launching today states, in OECD countries alone public procurement accounts for up to 12% of GDP and almost 30% of government expenditures in 2013. In Jordan it is close to 40% of the state budget. These figures are staggering. But public procurement is also the government's activity which is most vulnerable to corruption. As the major interface between the public and the private sectors, public procurement bears the risk of diverting public resources for private gains. A transparent, efficient and corruption-free public procurement system can benefit countries and societies in many ways. Let me here mention three of them. Firstly, considering the significant amounts of public resources channelled through public procurement systems, even marginal savings can add up very fast. And in a country like Jordan, which is struggling with an increasing budget deficit and very limited fiscal space, these savings can help finance pro-growth policies. Secondly, the benefits of an efficient and transparent procurement system are not only financial. Weaknesses in public procurement processes lead to the delivery of costly, un-efficient, untimely and unsuitable services and infrastructure, with a detrimental impact on people's lives. This could affect the availability of vital hospital equipment, of textbooks for public schools, the building of roads and
  2. 2. Page 2 of 3 other key infrastructure etc. The consequences of these are evident to you all. Thirdly, public procurement is the prerogative of the government whose results, the citizens 'see' and experience every day. It is in fact what drives people's satisfaction with public services and what they use to 'measure' the effectiveness of state agencies and institutions in upholding justice, equality, transparency and accountability. Corruption in procurement therefore undermines people's confidence in the ability of governments to fulfil their welfare functions and to preserve and support the rule of law. And as His Majesty King Abdullah II stated in his sixth discussion paper, rule of law is the main underpinning of a properly functioning nation. It is the very foundation upon which successful democracies and prosperous economies are built. Failure to preserve and support it undermines the basis of our society. These are uncertain times for governments around the world. Unpopular decisions to manage decreasing available resources and ensure security and prosperity of citizens have to be taken. And we are all aware of the additional challenges Jordan is facing because of regional instability and conflicts in neighbouring countries. An effective, efficient and transparent public procurement is a necessary – though often undervalued and underutilised - policy instrument to promote growth, employment and generally the well-being of societies. I shall commend the JIACC for having requested this important review; the OECD/SIGMA team for the excellent work of the past months and all the government institutions which were involved in the exercise for the support provided. The European Union is proud to have contributed to it. As the report highlights there are important challenges ahead and room for improvement. We hope that steps will be taken soon to implement the recommendations that the report presents. Allow me to single out one of them – that is the development and adoption of a coherent, sound and modern institutional and regulatory framework for public procurement. This is a vital reform that will strengthen confidence in the effectiveness and fairness of the system. I would also like to stress that the European Union is channelling around 60% of its development assistance through budget support. By doing this we fully rely on the government rules and procedures – including in public procurement – for the effective delivery of our grants. Should the government's systems fail, our assistance – whether it is in support to the justice system, to the management of solid waste or the education sector - will fail to deliver to the people of Jordan
  3. 3. Page 3 of 3 Let me conclude by reiterating also our continued support to Jordan's endeavours to fight corruption in all sectors of society. We look forward to continuing working with the JIACC through our different financing instruments. Our support to the JIACC reflects a strong partnership that we have with Jordan. This is why we are further exploring how EU tools like Twinning and TAIEX can help implement the National Integrity and Anti-Corruption Strategy 2017 – 2025 and how European expertise and best practices in law enforcement, handling of complaints and grievances amongst others areas can enhance JIACC's ability to monitor and counter corruption in the country. Thank you again to the JIACC for organising this event. I wish you all fruitful discussions. Thank you.

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