In 2010, Sri Lanka established a unique framework, overseen by the Standing Cabinet Appointed Review Committee (SCARC), to handle unsolicited proposals (USPs) for public infrastructure funding. These USPs inherently bypass traditional competitive bidding in procurement.
The report, ‘Foregoing Competition to Secure Funding for Public Infrastructure: One-Third of Funding Secured was Non-Concessional’, scrutinizes this framework. It reveals a significant discrepancy between the framework’s intended purpose of improving USP evaluation and the actual outcomes, with a substantial portion of the funding secured through SCARC being non-concessional in nature.
The report identifies two vulnerabilities in the existing procurement framework that need urgent attention: the Cabinet’s unchecked power to modify procurement guidelines, and SCARC’s ability to approve projects non-compliant with even the minimum criteria outlined without repercussions.