Government abolished Public Procurement Administration, without explanation

By repealing body for public procurement, the Government is skipping the steps in process of regulation of public procurement; it is undermining public debate on the new law, the opinion of the European Commission and the public’s right to know, contrary to the demands of European integration.

The Government’s new Decree on the organisation and manner of work of state administration abolished the Public Procurement Administration. Its tasks were delegated to the Ministry of Finance, without explanation.

In the 2019 Law on Budget, there is only a new budget program “management of public procurement system” under the Ministry of Finance, worth over 358 thousand euros. The Public Procurement Administration does not exist as a specific consumer unit.

As a general explanation for the decision to abolish certain bodies (including the Public Procurement Administration), Ministry of Public Administration stated that it was guided by “rationalisation needs with consideration of legally established criteria, due to the nature of work or small-scale load.” No further explanation was given why the formerly independent state body has been integrated  within the Ministry, while the majority of the former bodies within the ministries has been reorganised into independent administrative bodies.

However, given the recently adopted 2019 Law on Budget and job descriptions and competency of the Ministry of Finance, as they are described in the new Decree, the competent program within the Ministry will have neither less nor more job, responsibilities and competences than the Public Procurement Administration had, nor less employees, nor will consume less money.

According to the Decree , the description of the work that Ministry of Finance does in relation to public procurement corresponds to the previously described activities of the Public Procurement Administration. Also, the estimated budget of the Ministry of Finance for the public procurement program is 23 thousand euro higher than the budget of the Public Procurement Administration in the previous year. The budget for salaries is not reduced – on the contrary, it is also higher for 5,000 euro.

The total salary budget of the Ministry of Finance, compared to the 2018, has decreased only for the amount taken away from previous budget programs of administrations for games of chances and real estate, which are now independent consumer units. Therefore, even in this area, there are no budget savings.

The abolition of the Public Procurement Administration, therefore, will have no implications on expenditure cuts and “cheaper” public administration, nor on the optimisation process. In the Ministry of Finance, the same number of people will continue to work on public procurement tasks and the cost of their salaries will even increase.

Not only that it did not justify the abolition of the body, but the Government has not yet finalised the Proposal for the new Public Procurement Law and submitted it to the Parliament, although it was supposed to finalised it during the last year.

Draft Law on Public Procurement, which was the subject of a public debate in March and sent to the European Commission for the opinion in September, envisaged Public Procurement Administration as an independent body. Therefore, in order to be aligned with the Decree, the proposal of the new law will have to be extensively revised before submission to the Parliament.

In the past two years, the Government failed to demonstrate a clear strategy for regulating public procurement, although this is an area particularly prone to corruption. A few seemingly random and unexplained activities, such as amendments to the Law on Public Procurement in June 2017, without public debate and opinion of the European Commission, the delays in preparation of the new Law and skipping steps in the preparation process, call into question the Government’s commitment to seriously improve the area in which half a billion euro of citizens’ money is spent each year.

The Government is therefore obliged to publicly explain decisions made in the previous period and to state whether this had the approval from the European Commission. Also, when the new Public Procurement Law enters parliamentary procedure, the MPs are responsible to ask the Government why it has opted for a solution different from the one that was subject of the public debate and which was sent to the European Commission for an opinion.

With the abolition of the Public Procurement Administration, Montenegro became the only country in the region without an independent state body to monitor public procurement.

Ana Đurnić
Public Policy Researcher

Crna Gora bez obrazloženja ostala bez organa za javne nabavke

Ukidanjem Uprave za javne nabavke, Vlada preskače korake u procesu regulisanja javnih nabavki, obesmišljava javnu raspravu o novom zakonu, mišljenje Evropske komisije i pravo javnosti da zna, suprotno onome što joj proces evropske integracije nalaže. 

Vlada je novom Uredbom o organizaciji i načinu rada državne uprave ukinula Upravu za javne nabavke, a poslove javnih nabavki povjerila Ministarstvu finansija, bez obrazloženja.

U Zakonu o budžetu za 2019. godinu, predviđen je samo novi budžetski program “uređenje sistema javnih nabavki” u okviru Ministarstva finansija, u vrijednosti od preko 358 hiljada eura, a Uprave za javne nabavke nema kao posebne potrošačke jedinice.

Kao opšte obrazloženje odluke o ukidanju pojedinih organa (uključujući i Upravu za javne nabavke), Ministarstvo javne uprave navelo je da se rukovodilo “potrebama racionalizacije uz sagledavanje zakonom utvrđenih kriterijuma, zbog prirode poslova ili manjeg obima posla”. Nije dato podrobnije objašnjenje zašto se nekada samostalni organ uprave “utopio” u Ministarstvo, dok je većina nekadašnjih organa u sastavu ministarstava reogranizovana u samostalne organe uprave.

Međutim, iz utvrđenog Zakona o budžetu za 2019. godinu, te iz opisa poslova i nadležnosti Ministarstva finansija iz Uredbe, ono neće imati niti manje niti više posla, obaveza i nadležnosti nego što ih je imala Uprava, ni manje zaposlenih, niti će trošiti manje novca.

Naime, prema Uredbi, opis poslova Ministarstva finansija u vezi sa javnim nabavkama odgovara ranijem opisu poslova Uprave za javne nabavke. Takođe, predviđeni budžet Ministarstva finansija na programu javnih nabavki je za 23 hiljade eura veći nego što je bio budžet Uprave za javne nabavke u prethodnoj godini, a budžet za zarade nije smanjen – naprotiv, on je takođe veći za 5.000 eura.

Ukupan budžet Ministarstva finansija za zarade je, u odnosu na 2018. godinu, umanjen samo toliko koliko su mu oduzeti budžeti za programe Uprava za igre na sreću i nekretnine, koje su sada samostalne potrošačke jedinice, tako da ni u toj sferi nisu ostvarene uštede.

Ukidanje Uprave za javne nabavke, dakle, neće imati implikacija na smanjenje potrošnje i “jeftiniju” javnu upravu, niti na process optimizacije, jer će u Ministarstvu finansija na javnim nabavkama raditi jednak broj ljudi kao u Upravi, a trošak za njihove zarade će se povećati.

Osim što javnosti nije obrazložila ukidanje Uprave, Vlada nije ni utvrdila konačni Prijedlog Zakona o javnim nabavkama i poslala ga Skupštini, iako je to bilo planirano za prošlu godinu.

Nacrt Zakona o javnim nabavkama koji je bio na javnoj raspravi u martu i koji je u septembru poslat Evropskoj komisiji na mišljenje,predviđao je samostalnost Uprave za javne nabavke. U odnosu na tu verziju, Zakon je, dakle, potrebno opsežno revidirati prije slanja Skupštini na usvajanje, kako bi se on uskladio sa Uredbom.

U prethodne dvije godine, Vlada nije pokazala jasnu strategiju regulisanja javnih nabavki, iako je u pitanju oblast prepoznata kao posebno rizična za korupciju. Nekoliko naizgled nasumičnih i neobrazloženih aktivnosti, poput izmjena Zakona o javnim nabavkama u junu 2017. godine, bez javne rasprave i mišljenja Evropske komisije, odugovlačenje sa pripremom novog Zakona i preskakanje koraka u procesu pripreme, dovodi u pitanje Vladinu posvećenost da ozbiljno unaprijedi oblast u kojoj se godišnje troši preko pola milijarde novca građana.

Vlada je stoga dužna da javnosti objasni odluke koje je u prethodnom periodu donijela i kaže da li za to ima saglasnost Evropske komisije. Takođe, na poslanicima u Skupštini je odgovornost da, kada Zakon o javnim nabavkama do njih dođe, pitaju Vladu šta ju je opredijelilo za rješenje drugačije od onog koje je bilo na javnoj raspravi i koje je poslato Evropskoj komisije na mišljenje.

Ukidanjem Uprave za javne nabavke, Crna Gora je postala jedina država u regionu koja nema samostalni organ uprave za nadgledanje javnih nabavki.

Ana Đurnić
Istraživačica javnih politika

Civil society proposals for the work of the State Audit Institution

Insititute Alternative (IA) has submitted Its own and proposals from partner organizations for external audit in the next year; we request control of the optimization of the public sector, confidential public procurement, the University of Montenegro, social work centers and procurement and delivery of aids for people with disabilities.

The contribution to the preparation of the 2019 Annual Audit Plan of the State Audit Institution is reflected in five proposals by non-governmental organizations on topics and institutions that should be subject to the supervision in the next year.

SAI should be involved in the control of the implementation of Montenegro’s Public Administration Optimization Plan 2018-2020, since it is a strategic document that covers almost the entire public sector. Implementation of this plan, among other things, will condition further payments of the sector budget support of the European Union (EU), which has been agreed in the total amount of 15 million euro.

Citizens also do not have any insight into the plans and reports of confidential procurement from the Ministry of Defense and the National Security Agency. As these documents are not available upon request for free access to information or are marked as secret, the SAI is the only institution that can make public expenditure on confidential procurements more transparent.

University of Montenegro is in minus for dozens of million euros. This, coupled with the fact that the last audit report on the University of Montenegro was made in 2009, are some of the key reasons why the Center for Civic Education (CCE) suggested that the SAI should include the University in the audit plan.

Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro (AYDM) also pointed out that by including social work centers, the SAI would mark a decade of the last control of these consumer units, which are extremely significant in terms of the amount of funds they have, but also because of frequent suspicions of work irregularities.

AYDM also believes that control of the contracts, procurement and delivery of aids for persons with disabilities between the Health Insurance Fund and enterprise “Rudo Montenegro” should be carried out. Otherwise, doubts about potential political and other misuses of these funds remain justified.

Team of Institute Alternative

Prijedlozi civilnog društva za rad DRI

Institut alternativa je uputio svoje i prijedloge partnerskih organizacija za vršenje eksterne revizije u narednoj godini; tražimo kontrolu optimizacije javnog sektora, povjerljivih javnih nabavki, Univerziteta Crne Gore, centara za socijalni rad i nabavki i isporuka pomagala za osobe sa invaliditetom.

Doprinos pripremi Godišnjeg plana revizija Državne revizorske institucije za 2019. godinu ogleda se u pet predloga nevladinih organizacija o temama i institucijama, koje bi trebalo da budu predmet nadzora u narednoj godini.

DRI bi trebalo da se uključi u kontrolu sprovođenja Plana optimizacije javne uprave Crne Gore 2018-2020, budući da se radi o strateškom dokumentu čiji je opseg primjene gotovo cijeli javni sektor. Od uspješnog sprovođenja ovog plana, između ostalog, zavise dalje uplate sektorske budžetske podrške Evropske unije (EU), koja je ugovorena u ukupnom iznosu od 15miliona eura.

Građani takođe nemaju nikakav uvid u planove i izvještaje o povjerljivim nabavkama Ministarstva odbrane i Agencije za nacionalnu bezbjednost, a kako su isti nedostupni po zahtjevu za slobodan pristup informacijama ili nose oznaku tajnosti, DRI je jedina institucija koja može trošenje javnog novca na povjerljive nabavke učiniti transparentnijim.

Desetine milona minusa u poslovanju Univeziteta Crne Gore, kao i činjenica da je posljednji Izvještaj o reviziji Univerziteta Crne Gore urađen za 2009.godinu, su neki od ključnih razloga zašto je Centar za građansko obrazovanje (CGO) predložio da DRI uključi Univerzitet u plan revizija.

Udruženje mladih sa hendikepom Crne Gore (UMHCG) je takođe ukazalo da bi uključivanjem centara za socijalni rad, DRI obilježila deceniju od posljednje izvršene kontrole ovih potrošačkih jedinica, koje su izuzetno značajne po visini sredstava kojima raspolažu ali i čestim sumnjama u neregularnost u radu.

UMHCG takođe smatra da bi trebalo da se sprovede kontrola ugovora, nabavke i isporuke pomagala za osobe za invaliditetom između Fonda za zdravstveno osiguranje i preduzeća Rudo Montenegro. U suprotnom, sumnje u potencijalne političke i druge zloupotrebe ovih sredstava ostaju opravdane.

Tim Instituta alternativa