February 03, 2012
Chamber of Deputies Greenlight Public Procurement Reform
On January 31, the Chamber of Deputies rejected the Senate’s changing proposals to draft amendment to the Public Procurement Act related to ownership transparency and passed the reform version approved in November 2011. Press release of the Platform for Transparent Public Tenders follows. The Platform for Transparent Public Tenders believes the reform of public procurement passed by the Chamber of Deputies today represents major progress in the effort to achieve effective and transparent public procurement in the country. The Platform applauds the politicians, government officials, business and civic associations, and independent experts who worked together for more than a year to craft the best possible reform.
“This vote is a victory not only for better and fairer public procurement, but for the principles of good governance,” Dan Tok said. “The government created a very open process, and the opposition parties have been very constructive and instrumental in putting a good policy together. The level of expertise provided by government officials, the business community, and the non-governmental associations was impressive: this was not an issue of not knowing what to do, but agreeing on what was the best way to do it. We now have a common conception of what constitutes of good procurement process, and we should have the consensus and commitment necessary to ensure that the words on paper becomes the reality.”
Two items remain to make the legislative reform complete. Transparency of ownership should be addressed in the Act on Transparency currently being drafted by the Ministry of Justice. Minister Jankovsky has promised to correct the actions of the Economic Committee, which pushed for sector suppliers to be removed from the transparency initiative. “We expect that the issue of ownership can be resolved before the summer,” Tok says.
“The principles conceived by the Ministry should make sure the public knows who is getting its money not only in the procurement process, but in every transaction conducted by the state.” “We still do not understand why the Economic Committee pulled its proposal because it felt it could increase corruption, and then reintroduced it right before the final voting,” Tok continued. “We plan to work with the Minister to correct this.”
The Platform will now start working on the implementation of the reform. It has also agreed to set up expert working groups on public administration reform and political party financing.
Among the most significant improvements in the Public Procurement Act amendment are the obligation to disclose contracts, real costs/final prices, and all documents and information related to the tendering process (excl. given exemptions), for example. The tendering agency will be obliged to justify each procurement and the scope of procurements that have to be processed according to the Public Procurement Act will be extended. The amendment also introduces rules related to ownership structure of tender winners and subcontractors. The issue of ownership transparency should be dealt with in a separate act (Act on Transparency of Corporations), currently being drafted by the Ministry of Justice. Details about the Platform and the reform process are available at the Platform website http://www.transparentnizakazky.cz/.