2022 New Year’s Address by PPS Administrator Kim Chung-woo
January 3, 2022
Fellow public procurement officers, The tumultuous year of 2021 has passed. We now ring in the New Year of the Black Tiger. I wish 2022 will bring tremendous joy and good luck to you. COVID-19 has drastically turned our everyday lives - daily commute, travel, and in-person gatherings - into the unprecedented way of life with remote work, social distancing, mandatory mask-wearing, virtual meetings, etc. The Public Procurement Service(PPS) has also witnessed considerable changes in its administration. In the year of 2020, faced with the surging demand for face masks, PPS stabilized a supply of the urgently-needed masks for public health. During sizzling summer days of 2021, officers of a PPS branch arduously strived for procuring LDS(Low Dead Space) syringes to ensure every last droplet of vaccine fluid can be properly utilized. Hopefully, 2022 will be the year of returning to pre-COVID normalcy - full of pleasures of those plain, ordinary days. Fellow procurement officers, Last year, thanks to your hard work and dedication, PPS was brought to a much-higher standing. First of all, the ‘Innovation Procurement’ initiative successfully took firm roots in a relatively short period of time. Along with designation of the ‘Innovative Product’ and expansion of the budget size for purchasing those inventive goods, the Office for ‘Deputy Director General for Innovation Procurement’ and the ‘Innovation Procurement Management Division’ were newly established for making the initiative a reality. Innovative Procurement has also settled as a useful vehicle for the Korean New Deal and carbon neutrality, which are among the Korean government’ major policies. PPS, in collaboration with nine governmental bodies, made schemes to support innovative suppliers for making inroads into overseas markets, thereby taking the first step towards ‘K-Innovation Procurement.’ Second, PPS played a pivotal role in ensuring public safety in the face of nationwide challenges. The central procurer was always there to safeguard public health and the people’s daily lives amid tumultuous events involving COVID-19 vaccination, soaring prices of raw materials and a shortage of urea water solution. Amid the fierce competition for COVID-19 vaccines, PPS quickly procured LDS syringes whose effect is almost equivalent to producing 20% more vaccines, released stockpiled raw materials in bulk at discount and rapidly purchased urea water solution from Australia in just three days as multiple countries struggled for securing the globally sought-after item. Third, PPS made its first stride for the Next-Generation KONEPS, launching the Next-Generation KONEPS Office on the 1st of July, 2021. Since it had established the world’s first e-procurement system back in 2002, PPS, once again, started an audacious journey towards writing a new chapter in government procurement by developing Next-Gen KONEPS. Fourth, public procurement has reliably buttressed SMEs. PPS abolished such systems burdening suppliers as point deduction in tender evaluation based on tenderer’s restrictions record. Struggling suppliers with increased production costs caused by skyrocketing raw material prices witnessed ‘offset’ effects made through adapted amounts of contracts. PPS has also worked in earnest to expand scopes of negotiated contracts to benefit such businesses on the relatively vulnerable end as ones with a female owner or with disabled employees, or social enterprises. As a result, the procurer was highly recognized for its dedication and achievements. So it was granted the Policy Award of the Year 2021 by the Korean Association for Policy Studies for its Innovation Procurement initiative and the Prime Minister’s Award for excellence in government organization and management, along with winning the plague for contribution to national security by the National Intelligence Service.Indeed, in 2021, PPS was highly acclaimed on diverse fronts. Fellow procurement officers, The pandemic is likely to linger on for some time.Although our economy is expected to improve in tandem with global economic recovery and phased return to normalcy, uncertainty still remains high. Against this backdrop, the Korean government set the goal of weathering the challenges, regaining the vitality of our day-to-day lives and economy, and eventually attaining a pace-setting economy. Accordingly the government planned to preemptively respond to future tasks of strengthening next-generation growth engines and realizing carbon neutrality. In this regard, public procurement is now positioned to focus not just on recovering economic vitality from the pandemic but on building robust bases for future government procurement. To that end, contributing to economic resilience and public health, PPS will also preemptively ready itself for future issues by realizing social values and supporting carbon neutrality though ingenious procurement methodologies including the Innovation Procurement initiative. Matters ahead of us - unavoidable and tricky to deal with- require us to take ‘Steady and Wise’ steps. So we need to be more careful and insightful than ever before. To that end, first of all, public procurement will be at the forefront of injecting vitality into our economy. PPS will advance the nation’s economic recovery by accelerating the execution of procurement contracts and provide SMEs with broader sales channels to public procurement markets. More specifically, contracts will be intensively executed in the first half of this year. Manufacturers of inventive products, youth startups and ventures will see much lowered entry barriers to public procurement. Goods and services recognized for their excellence will be supported in joining overseas procurement markets. In particular, the central procuring agency will agilely connect youth startups and ventures with local universities and Business Incubation Centers so that they can readily get necessary assistance for foraying into public procurement markets. The agency will also foster young procurement talents by operating overseas procurement youth training programs, thereby making them qualified and professional to develop their careers in the concerned field. Second, PPS will continue to put people’s safety first in building public procurement policies. It will always research what public procurement should do for safeguarding peoples’ daily lives and public health. Although the recent setback in the urea water supply chain made us pay costly prices, it also left behind a valuable lesson to us on the significance of supply chain management. So the items that are essential in economy and security, and highly dependent on importation, will be further stockpiled for possible emergencies, along with establishment of the additional warehouse for essential stockpiles. On top of that, as measures for a stable supply of public health and safety items need to be taken, PPS will induce more of the domestic medical equipment into public procurement. It will also endeavor to ensure a seamless supply of quarantine products necessary for additional COVID-19 vaccination. Especially, hygiene of the food products served for our military personnel will be thoroughly checked and subpar suppliers will be blocked from joining the bidding competition in the first place. Plus, to prevent accidents from occurring at construction sites, proper construction periods and designs strictly focused on safety will be ensured in public works. In addition, PPS will strive to settle a culture most valuing safety at construction sites by engaging both experts and site workers and getting them benefitted from innovative safety equipment. Third, PPS will make social values of public procurement, less noticed so far compared to its economic counterparts, come to light. As you are all aware, sustainable progress in our society calls for preemptive response to future agenda such as attainment of carbon neutrality and social values. Indeed. public procurement has long revolved around economic values such as efficiency, competition and budget saving. However, our society is currently faced with complicated and intractable issues in diverse areas including the environment, employment, labour, safety, fairness and co-prosperity. Thus, on a path to sustainable growth of the society, public procurement will serve as a catalyst to ensure that suppliers contributing to social values and public good are not harmed but rewarded. Carbon neutrality, also referred to as ‘Net-Zero’, is one of the urgent tasks put before us. In this sense, PPS will contribute to greater distribution of green vehicles such as EVs and hydrogen cars, also meticulously checking environmental friendliness when evaluating participating companies in tender for goods and public works. Fourth, PPS will render the Innovation Procurement initiative more dynamic. The market for Innovation Procurement should grow into a more vibrant and dynamic platform than now. Thus, the central procurer will unearth inventive products in such an ingenious method as the “Scouter” system which directly engages the public in selecting the Innovative Product. From 2022 on, a dedicated support center for Innovation Procurement will work on finding demand for innovative goods and services, policy research, performance evaluation and assistance for innovative suppliers in joining overseas markets. Besides, Innovative Procurement is to see itself grow qualitatively through performance management. Lastly, public procurement services will go digial and data-driven. PPS is to make the e-procurement system smarter so that the system can help procurement stakeholders make informed decisions and vitalize digital and data-based transactions for creating added values. The Next-Generation KONEPS Office is going into design and development processes to set up the user-friendly environment, intelligent search functions, the procurement data hub, etc. It will put forth a detailed roadmap after coming up with the most reasonable measure to integrate 28 different e-procurement systems across the nation into Next-Gen KONEPS. Besides, the Next-Gen KONEPS Office will prepare PPS to serve as a procurement statistics & data hub by integrating procurement statistics scattered across various central and local government bodies. Public procurement officers, Amid the recent tumult, we all witnessed the roles and potential of PPS were much greater than we had thought of. PPS proved that a governmental body which could fully appreciate the gravity of a given situation, identify and put the most suitable solution in practice, rather than being stuck in procedures and regulations, end up with support and recognition from the people. In a bid to make public procurement more trusted by the people, we should make noticeable progress in policy capabilities by closely collaborating with diverse stakeholders from academia, government institutions and the private sector. I believe it is incombent on PPS to agilely act based on strong teamwork and communication so that tangible results of its proactive administration can be felt by the people. All of these are the very reason for “Procuring Innovation and Innovating Procurement“. My fellow procurement officers, Over the past year, you all have done great work.I am proud of every one of you who has done your best each day. I sincerely wish 2022 will bring you and your family fulfillment and happiness. And, hopefully, we will soon go back to pre-COVID nomalcy. Thank you.