In Morocco, public procurement represents 20% of GDP and more than 40,000 tenders per year. In a recent report titled “ Greening the Moroccan economy by dematerializing public procurement“, the World Bank (WB) reveals how the reforms undertaken by Morocco to dematerialize public procurement procedures could reduce CO2 emissions by 84%. A considerable figure!
The World Bank’s report explains in the preamble that until recently, all bidders had to complete the procedures in person at each stage of the procedure. They had to go to the local public procurement office to collect the tender documents, obtain a bank guarantee, submit a bid, attend the opening of bids, submit other documents after notification of the award of the market and sign the contract.
Thus, the World Bank reveals that all these steps taken by bidders to respond to State calls for tenders required a large number of journeys, i.e. a total of 12 road journeys of approximately 60 km each, which corresponds to 720 km per tenderer. This resulted in significant carbon emissions, as well as wasted time and money, which was a particular deterrent for SMEs. The institution points out that the objective of allocating 30% of public tenders to SMEs, as set out in Moroccan law, seemed difficult to achieve.
To achieve this, one of the possible levers for States is the adoption of a digitized procedure which facilitates the participation of SMEs, believes the institution. In this sense, the World Bank has decided to support the reforms undertaken by Morocco as part of its budget support program for digital financial inclusion.
These reforms have allowed companies to participate online by doing all their business remotely, says the World Bank. She notes that the Kingdom began this digitization process with the launch in 2007 of a portal offering access to a system of electronic calls for tenders, bids and reverse auctions.
However, the World Bank indicates that this transition has come up against business mistrust and a lack of mastery of digital procedures. ” Within the Kingdom’s General Treasury, the shift to electronic submissions required an extensive change management and capacity building program to promote the adoption of this technological advance among businesses. Moreover, without resorting to electronic tenders, there were no statistics to establish that SMEs were indeed benefiting from public procurement”, raises the report.
And to add that “between 2020 and 2022, the Moroccan authorities have taken three important measures“, demanding in the sense that “all public procuring entities publish the number and value of contracts awarded to SMEs, that all bidders go through the public procurement portal, and that bank guarantees are digitized“.
Once the machine was in motion, the World Bank considered this “dematerialization” as an environmental breakthrough in Morocco, noting that carbon emissions have decreased significantly, despite the increase in energy consumption related to data processing and storage.
In detail, the report explains that with 40,000 annual tenders and an average of four bidders per tender, the reform launched by Morocco reduced the number of road trips made by bidders from 22 to 2 by call for tenders, only the trip in person of the selected tenderer being necessary for the signature of the contract.
At the end of the reform, the distance traveled by all the bidders in one year could drop from 86,000 to just 6,000 km, or a reduction in CO2 emissions of 84%, underlines the World Bank.
In conclusion, the report considers that it is necessary to take additional measures to move from dematerialization to true ” greening » public contracts. This implies not only that the public administration reduces its carbon footprint through its purchasing processes, but also in the choice of the purchases themselves.
Morocco is working on this with the support of the World Bank, according to the report. This reveals that a green charter for public procurement is in the process of being adopted, with the introduction of ecological criteria within the online tendering platform. This will allow public entities to purchase goods that meet certain environmental standards.