Sat, 03 Apr 2004

Local businesses urged to take part in UN tenders

Urip Hudiono, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government is urging more local enterprises to participate in procurement tenders held by international organizations under the United Nations (UN), to help further promote Indonesia's economy and its role in the global community.

"We hope Indonesian businesses do not miss out on such potential opportunities, and can make the most out of them," said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' director general for multilateral economic, financial and development affairs, Susanto Sutoyo, during a preparatory seminar on Friday for the upcoming Inter-Agency Procurement Working Group (IAPWG) meeting.

IAPWG is an assembly of procurement division heads from 35 international organizations under the UN, who are in charge of managing the supply of goods and services for the organizations.

The group will hold its annual meeting in Yogyakarta from May 31 to June 4. Concurrently, there will be an exhibition of Indonesian products and one-on-one meetings between IAPWG officials and local enterprises about prospective tenders.

The deputy chief for economic affairs of the Indonesian representatives to the UN, Sigit Wardono, said UN organizations annually spent US$4.6 billion on goods and services -- obtained through open tenders -- for their worldwide operations.

The UN, he said, had recently issued a resolution encouraging the organizations to prioritize enterprises from developing countries when they held the tenders.

Sigit said Indonesian enterprises had taken part in such tenders, such as the procurement of goods and services worth $6 million in 2000 from the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor.

But Indonesia's participation was minuscule, as data from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) shows that Indonesian enterprises acquired only $19.02 million, or only 0.41 percent, of the total UN tenders in 2002.

Sigit also reminded interested Indonesian enterprises that the UN and its organizations were particularly concerned with humanitarian and environmental issues.

"Products whose production involves child labor or forest destruction will certainly raise some eyebrows," he said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs previously held similar preparatory seminars in Medan and Surabaya. Interested enterprises can visit IAPWG's website at for further information.

The chairman of the Jakarta chapter of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pungky Bambang Purwadi, suggested that the enterprises maintain their professionalism in participating in the tenders.

"But the main point for them is participating in the tenders first, to gain experience in global competition," he said, expressing his hope that all 150 enterprises present at the seminar would also attend IAPWG's upcoming meeting.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) portfolio management head Jean- Marie Lacombe, meanwhile, said the Indonesian enterprises should also thoroughly understand the procedures for the tenders, mainly how to submit bids and provide warranties for the goods and services they were offering through the tenders.

Although it is not a UN organization, the ADB is the main executing agent of UN tenders for Asia and the Pacific. Information on the ADB and the tenders it is currently offering can be obtained through its website at