New Public Procurement Rules Bring Challenges

Total Croatia News

On 1 July, the most important provisions of the new Law on Public Procurement came into effect.

The new Law on Public Procurement has been in force since the beginning of this year, while the obligatory application of the most economically advantageous bid as the selection criterion, instead of the lowest price criterion, began on 1 July. Experiences with the new law were presented on Tuesday at the conference “Public procurement – Application of the most economically advantageous bid criterion”, organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia (AmCham), reports Jutarnji List on September 19, 2017.

“From 1 July this year, we are obliged to apply the criterion of the most economically advantageous bid, and we believe that this will bring the best value which contracting authorities expect from public procurement procedures,” said state secretary at the Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Nataša Mikuš Žigman, pointing out that public procurement last year in Croatia was worth about 45 billion kunas. This made up around 13 percent of Croatia’s GDP, which is seven percentage points less than in the European Union.

Mikuš Žigman also stated that the criterion of the most economically advantageous bid was modestly represented in public procurement tenders over the past few years, with just a three percent share. She pointed out that the Ministry had undertaken a series of activities, presenting a series of manuals and tools, to explain the new legal provisions to both public bodies and entrepreneurs. The success of the new criterion and the Law on Public Procurement depends on all stakeholders in the project and should bring a simplification of tender practices, said Mikuš Žigman.

Chairperson of the State Commission for Control of Public Procurement Procedures Goran Matešić pointed out that 678 appeals cases have so far been received in connection with public procurement procedures. Since application the new law, there have been 135 complaints, of which 38 percent refer to the tender documentation and 48 percent to the bid selection decisions, while 14 percent of the appeals were dismissed for procedural reasons.

Matešić said that the most economically advantageous bid principle was the biggest challenge for the law, and it remains to be seen how it will work in practice. “The most economically advantageous bid is a more complex criterion than the most favourable price criterion, and it requires the whole law to be viewed differently. When the lowest price principle was in effect, it was straightforward to control procedures,” said Matešić.

He also pointed out that at the moment there are four legal cases before the High Administrative Court, but that the Court has suspended proceedings because it is waiting for a review of the constitutionality of two articles of the law. “The decision-making delay means that we have a temporary crisis when it comes to judicial protection,” said Matešić, adding that such court proceedings last very long – 568 days on average.

Head of the Sector for Systems Improvement and International Cooperation of the Economy Ministry Nina Čulina stated that, since the implementation of the new law, they had noticed a major improvement in the quality of the tender documentation.

Since 1 July, about 1,400 public procurement procedures have been conducted, she said, adding that, when everybody gets acquainted with the new rules, the public procurement process will be less complicated and bureaucratic than previously.

Translated from Jutarnji List.


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