On September 3, 2019, the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives “Viitorul” has organized the final conference of the Project «Cutting edge improvements in the public procurement system in Moldova through inclusiveness, creativity and law-abiding practices» implemented by the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) “Viitorul with the financial support from the EU through the Civil Society Strengthening Program to Monitor Budget and co-financed by the UK Government through UK Aid.
During the conference were presented the results of the project, as well as two reports on the evaluation of the Strategy for the development of the public procurement system and of the Action Plan regarding its implementation for the years 2016-2018, as well as the monitoring of the sectoral plan of anti-corruption actions in the field of public procurement for the year 2018.
„About 10.5 billion lei were contracted by the public authorities through the public procurement system in 2018, which represents about 5.7% of GDP, a small indicator compared to the European level indicator which is between 15-30%” mentioned the executive director of IDIS „Viitorul”, Liubomir Chiriac at the opening of the event.
The representatives of the two institutions that financially supported the project to improve public procurement in the Republic of Moldova also addressed a greeting message: „In recent years there have been many legal amendments that contribute to ensuring a more open and transparent public procurement system, thus preventing cases of corruption. We will continue to support public procurement in the Republic of Moldova and the involvement of civil society with its watchdog role” stated Marco Gemmer, Head of Operations Section of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova. For his part, Gary Davies, Deputy Head of the Mission of the British Embassy in Chisinau stressed the importance of transparent public procurement system: „It is important to explain to everyone why it is necessary to have a transparent and efficient public procurement system, as it concerns the management of public money. The civil society should play the critical role of the guardian in reforming this system and it is important that this open dialogue between authorities, the business environment, and civil society continues”.
The opening session was attended by representatives of the public procurement authorities, including the Public Procurement Agency and the National Agency for Solving Complaints. At the event was present also Ruslan Malai, the director of the Public Procurement Agency, who mentioned that the dialogue between state institutions and the civil society is very important, adding that „We are open for an evaluation of the activity of the state institutions, independent evaluation, constructive criticism and for an open dialogue with the civil society”. Irina Gutnic, Deputy Director-General of the National Agency for Solving Complaints, stated that she considers the involvement of the civil society in the process of evaluating and monitoring of the way in which the public money is used a very efficient tool: „The role of watchdog of the civil society, on one hand, ensures greater transparency of public procurement, and on the other hand, it compels the contracting authorities, economic operators and other actors involved in this sphere more responsible, more efficient, more effective, more integrated, more transparent and to strictly follow the legal provisions”.
At the same time, during the conference, the project coordinator and the deputy director of IDIS „Viitorul”, Carolina Ungureanu presented the main results, activities and products elaborated in order to reach the specific objectives of the project. Diana Enachi, the coordinator of monitoring public procurement at IDIS „Viitorul”, discussed the necessity and the impact of the public procurement monitoring on good governance, as well as the main positive changes in the procurement system in recent years. According to Ms. Enachi, the progress in the field concerns the new law on public procurement adjusted according to European directives, the adoption of the first Sectoral Development Strategy, establishment of a specialized dispute resolution body, introduction of the new MTender procurement system or the introduction of the concept of the Single European Procurement Document (ESPD).
Next, the public procurement expert Vadim Turcan presented the results of the evaluation of the Strategy for the development of the public procurement system and of its Action Plan for the years 2016-2018. According to him, only 23% of the actions were carried out without deficiencies, and over a third of the actions (39%) received the unaccomplished rating. From a qualitative point of view, 11% of the actions had a major impact, and in the case of more than one third (39%) of the actions there is a lack of impact.
The lawyer Viorel Pârvan presented the conclusions of the monitoring of the Sectoral Plan of anti-corruption actions in the field of public procurement for the year 2018, concluding that “50% of the actions were carried out, of which more than a third (33.3%) were executed with deficiencies and 16.7% without deficiencies, while the unaccomplished actions represent 25% of the total. Also, only 8.3% of the actions had a major impact, and in the case of 25% of the actions there is a lack of impact”.
According to experts, in order to improve the public procurement system, it is necessary to establish a permanent dialogue mechanism and to clarify the roles and responsibilities of each institution in the system, to develop a national procurement certification system, to develop and adjust the secondary legal framework for the implementation of the primary legislation, to ensure a fully electronic procurement process, as well as to implement other anti-corruption actions.
At the conclusion of the event, during the discussion session, the representatives of the National Agency for Solving Complaints, the Public Procurement Agency, the Ministry of Finance, but also of the contracting authorities, the electronic procurement platforms, as well as the civil society took an active part in the debate of the topics addressed in the earlier presentation and of the reports presented at the conference.