Brazil's Sao Paulo state e-procurement system BEC (www.bec.gov.sp.br) will make purchases greater than 80,000 reais (US$22,500) starting March 2003, state finance department contract and oversight director Adriano Queiroga told BNamericas.
Early this month Sao Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin signed a decree removing the price ceiling on purchases over BEC, until then limited to transactions under 80,000 reais.
The impetus to pass the decree in fact came from BEC directors and other department heads. "We needed to pass the legislation [to be free] to make purchases of any size," Queiroga said.
The state expects to increase the percentage of purchases through BEC from 6% this year to 30% in 2003, he said.
The portal will never manage 100% of the state's purchasing needs because in the case of very small purchases an electronic purchasing system would make the process more onerous, he added.
BEC was created in October 2000. Today it aids the state in procuring goods that are suited to online purchase, such as IT items, office supplies, automobile parts, food and medicines.
Sao Paulo state purchases 1.3bn reais in goods and 2.7bn reais in services annually, more than any other Brazilian state. This year the state expects to save 20.4% on purchases through BEC.
The BEC development team based the portal on the federal government's e-marketplace Comprasnet, and claims the system is already the more advanced of the two. "Our financial and budgeting system is already connected to our supplier data base, whereas the federal government's is still not integrated," he said.
Other Brazilian states as well as Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Colombia and the Organization of American States (OAS) have approached BEC to buy its software for e-government projects, he said.