Ana Đurnić, public policy researcher at Institute Alternative (IA), attended the meeting with the TAIEX experts within their Case-based Peer-review mission on public procurement.
The objective of this peer-review mission was to provide the European Commission and Montenegro with an assessment of the vulnerable areas in public procurement and how the oversight system is effectively functioning. Ana presented some of the key findings from the most recent IA’s researches.
She pointed out that the centralisation of the public procurement is at the very early stage and faces numerous problems, while there is plenty room for improvement, particularly in terms of transparent spending on centralised procurement. Planning and reporting on such procurement are largely decentralised, and the multitude of data hinders access to reliable and detailed figures on centralised spending. Centralised procurement are not planned sufficiently thoroughly and timely, which causes problems in practice and leaves the administration without some of the essential tools for its work and operation.
When it comes to low value procurement, Ana highlighted that their sole introduction into the Montenegrin public procurement system significantly reduced transparency and competitiveness of public procurement. Low value procurement are characterised by wide discretion of the contracting authorities – while the Law prescribes only value thresholds of this procurement, everything else is determined by the internal acts of the contracting authorities. Ana explained that the Proposal of the new Law on Public Procurement envisages these procurement to be regulated by the Act prepared by the Ministry of Finance and equally obligatory for all the contracting authorities. She added that it is of utmost importance that Montenegrin public and European Commission get involved in the process of preparation of this Act and ensure that it properly responses to the challenges mapped in the implementation of the low value procurement so far.
Ana also pointed out that security and defence procurement are still insufficiently regulated and far from being in compliance with the EU regulations. The Law on Public Procurement dedicates only two articles to these procurement, while the envisaged bylaws are not yet adopted, although the deadline for their adoption has passed two years ago.
She expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that the Ministry of Finance did not organise public discussion on the Draft of the new Law on Public Procurement and explained that this jeopardised the principle of participatory decision-making in Montenegrin society.
The following TAIEX mission experts participated in the meeting:
Edvins Parups, Metodological assistance to the Subordinated Institutions, Ministry of Culture, Latvia
Dr Marcin Jedrasik, Deputy Director, Legal Department, Solidarity Transport Hub Poland, 100% State-owned company(entity subordinated to the Ministry of Infrastructure), Poland
Nina Čulina, Head of Sector for system development and international cooperation, Directorate for Public Procurement System Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts, Croatia.
Mr Krzysztof ZUREK from the DG NEAR also took part in the meeting.
The meeting took place on November 20, 2019, and was initiated by the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro.