Concession registry must be established

Institute Alternative states that it is necessary to establish a functional, on-line central registry of the concessions agreements as soon as possible. Even though this is as a legal requirement that has existed since February 2009, when the Concessions Act came into force (Article 15 of the Concessions Act, paragraph 5 of this Article specifies that “records of concession contracts are published on the website of the Commission”), a central register of contracts on concessions has not yet been established.

In addition to unjustified delay in the establishment of the registry that would facilitate keeping record of granted concessions, there is an issue of a number of bylaws for the concession area not being adopted yet. This remark applies to Article 61 (2) of the Concession Act: “type of activity that is the subject of the concession contract and the market conditions for its conduct.”

Likewise, the Law on Concessions is not fully compliant with relevant EU documents in this field: non-compliance of legislation is noticeable in the inaccurate definition of concessions for public works, and even the definitions of restricted procedures or competitive dialogue are not adequately transferred from the EU directive.

Public-private partnerships (PPP) will, according to an announcement from the Government, in the future represent the main instrument to battle the budget deficit. Taking into account all the advantages of this model, especially when one takes into account the budget deficit in Montenegro in the area of capital investment, this governmental policy is understandable.

However, past experience of state structures in concluding a contract under the PPP model as well as procedures for granting concessions indicate major deficiencies: access to information on concluded PPP contracts is extremely difficult, noticeable lack of democratic control, violation of legal procedures and favoring of certain private companies have been frequent phenomena.

In favor of better coordination and formation of a PPP expert core, IA believes that it is necessary to establish a specialized body for the PPP in Montenegro that would allow coordinated and controlled the action in this area. Positive experiences of EU countries and those in the region indicate the usefulness of the existence of such bodies.

Also, in addition to the central registry for the concession contracts, it is to make them all publicly available and create a national database of signed contracts. This database should provide access to periodic reports on implementation of the PPP, including financial reports on the implementation of the PPP, as well as plans for the annual repayment of debt of the public sector for PPP projects.

Jovana Marović
Senior research associate at Institute Alternativa

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