Government not transparent about public procurement
Kosova Democratic Institute (KDI), a branch of Transparency International in Kosova issued the findings of the “Public Procurement Transparency Index” in a roundtable discussion. This report assesses the disclosure of procurement documents and information by the Government of Kosovo. The index consists of 23 indicators across five categories of public procurement, namely: access to public documents, budgetary transparency, procurement transparency, transparency in public auctions, and complaints to the procurement review body.
Artan Canhasi, program manager at KDI, stated that “the lack of transparency by Kosovo’s institutions in the public procurement sector affects negatively businesses in Kosovo and the economic development of the country itself”. He added “that there are two types of businesses: those that do not know what, when and how much the government will procure and those that receive inside information through favours, which then use it as advantage to make a bid”.
The findings of this index show that critical documents are not published on web-sites of ministries. Budget, financial reports, procurement plans, but also tender and auction announcements are not accessible online. In assessing the level of transparency in public procurement KDI tested the access to public information through official requests. The findings are included in the report. Out of the 20 institutions, 9 responded within the legal deadlines, nine were late in their response and two ministries did not respond at all to the requests. The author Isuf Zejna from KDI stated that “the Government of Kosovo for 2014 demonstrated a low level of transparency on public procurement. Citizens, media and businesses were not provided documents which are essential for public procurement”.
Ilaz Duli, a board member Public Procurement Regulatory Commission, the body responsible for the development and supervision of the public procurement system, stated that electronic procurement which will be implemented during 2015 will address the majority of issues presented in the report. E-procurement is a longstanding recommendation made by civil society organisations in Kosovo but that has been delayed for several years.
On the other hand, the Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts, another panelist at the discussion emphasised the need for more transparency on public financial management. While Fidan Kalaja, the representative of FOL, said that the reason for such a low level of transparency is corruptive activates by senior politicians.
The ensuing debate concluded that there is a need to improve the legal basis to enforce transparency of public documents regarding public procurement and avoid legal collisions that currently exist. Another main conclusion resulting from the roundtable discussion was the need to further asses the transparency in public procurement in regular basis to check if there is improvement in this regard.
The full report with the findings can be downloaded in the KDI webpage: www.kdi-kosova.org
This activity was funded by British Embassy in Prishtina, as part of the project “Transparency and Accountability in Public Procurement”.
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