Bulgaria's Deputy PM Boasts Excellent 2013 Public Procurement Results
The accelerated absorption of EU funds in 2013 resulted in a record public procurement score, according to Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Daniela Bobeva.
Speaking Friday at a discussion on changes to the Public Procurement Act, she said that nearly 12 000 public procurement procedures had been opened in 2013, with over 22,7 thousand contracts worth over BGN 7.4 B.
Bobeva cautioned, however, that she was not optimistic that the achievements would be repeated in 2014 as the 2007-2013 programming period had expired.
Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister, as cited by investor.bg, noted that regardless of the positive results, there was widespread dissatisfaction with the way public procurement procedures were conducted, including among contractors, contracting authorities, society as a whole, and the European Commission.
She reminded that the EC had recently criticized the frequent legal changes in the sphere, the discrepancy between domestic provisions and EU law, and the insufficient administrative capacity.
Bobeva added that the EC had also drawn attention to the lack of e-public procurement, the lack of oversight of the implementation of procurement contracts and the delays in the processing of complaints.
Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister informed that the government had set itself the task of amending the legal regime so as to make public procurement procedures more transparent.
Bobeva reminded that the set of proposed amendments was being discussed in Parliament and was expected to be adopted by February, after which the authorities would start work on an ordinance on the application of the provisions.
She underscored that the legal changes sought to reduce the administrative burden for the business sector, to ensure access of small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as newly created companies, to such deals, and to improve the administrative capacity.
Bobeva informed that there was also a proposal to select the experts tasked with drafting the terms of the public procurement procedure by drawing lots.
She specified that the draw would take place in the region where the respective public procurement deal was based, adding that the number of experts registered so far was insufficient and the authorities would strive to secure experts selected by drawing lots at least for big projects.
Bobeva said that the access of SMEs to such deals would boost competition.
She reiterated that the set of proposed legal amendments envisaged measures for strengthening the administrative capacity, guaranteeing oversight of public procurement procedures and stepping up work on the platform for e-public procurement.
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