Low Value Procurement in Montenegro: Without Transparency or Competition

The subject of this analysis is low value procurement – a new non-transparent and uncompetitive procedure introduced under the amendments to the Public Procurement Law since June 2017. Even though public procurement are recognised as particularly prone to corruption, and the Government promises improvement of transparency and competitiveness of this part of public expenditure through all reports and strategic documents, its acts show the opposite.

By introducing low value procurement, a part of the budget spent through non-transparent procedures doubled. Over 28 million EUR was spent on low value procurement only in the second half of 2017. Low value procurement is characterised by wide discretion of the contracting authorities, while the Law prescribes only value thresholds of this procurement. The procedures for these procurement are determined by the internal acts of the contracting authorities and they apply for procuring goods and services the estimated value up to 15,000 EU and works the estimated value up to 30,000 EUR.

No ministry or municipality adopted an internal act for low value procurement within the deadline foreseen by the Public Procurement Law. Most ministries and municipalities have not foreseen in their internal acts the obligation of publishing concluded contracts, which additionally endangers transparency.

In order to prevent the share of money spent in direct agreements, away from public eyes, from growing further in the following years, it is necessary to adopt new solutions, at the level of laws and by-laws, which will be equally binding for all contracting authorities. These solutions should go in the direction of reducing space for discretion and arbitrariness of contracting authorities, higher availability and openness of data on low value procurement, and improvement of competitiveness.

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