The value of public procurement in Serbia exceeded 440 billion dinars last year, and thanks to the new Law on Public Procurement, which came into force today, the transparency of procedures and managing that money will be raised to a higher level. All future procurements will have to be realized completely electronically through the new Public Procurement Website, which means that all participants in the procedure will have available information at a single click.
This is the first step in restoring confidence in the procurement system, through which slightly more than eight percent of Serbia's GDP flows. The Serbian Bidders association and NALED will support the Public Procurement Office, within the Public-Private Dialogue for Development project, to keep as many stakeholders as possible updated through trainings and guidelines development for the implementation of the law.
- The largest procuring entities are public companies (128 billion dinars), healthcare and social institutions (90 billion), local governments (67 billion), local public enterprises (65 billion) and state administration bodies (63 billion). It is about the taxpayers’ money. So far, inadequate implementation of the law has led to restrictions on competition, demotivation of bidders and reduced confidence in the legal system. Greater competition in procurement brings better quality with lower prices, but last year the average number of bidders in the procedures was only 2.5, which is the lowest in the last seven years and the lowest average among the countries in the region. The need to strengthen trust in the system speaks volumes about the fact that many contracting authorities hurried to start procurement before July 1, since until then they will be applied according to the old law - says Jasmina Markovic, president of the Bidders’ Association.
The new law implies that from now on, all communication and data exchange in procurement procedures must be carried out through the Website. In that way, it will be possible to submit bids electronically, ask questions to the contracting authority, submit requests for protection of rights, open bids electronically, inspect the documentation…
In addition to the fact that transparency moves up to a higher level because documentation reviewing will be simpler, additional advantages are the standardization of procedures, which means that contracting authorities will conduct procurement in a uniform manner and procedures will be much more economical, as using the website will be free.
The abolition of the obligation to conduct procurement for goods and services up to 1,000,000 dinars and works up to 3,000,000 is a particularly noteworthy update (91% of procurements in Serbia are of great value). The procedure for protection of rights in proceedings has also been significantly improved.
The initiator of the dialogue on improving the public procurement system is the Business Association of Serbian Bidders within the Public-Private Dialogue for Development project conducted by NALED and the Public Policy Secretariat of the Republic of Serbia, and supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).