The Bulgarian government promulgated in May 2014 the Law amending and supplementing one of the country’s key economic laws – the Public Procurement Act (PPA), by introducing a number of changes, some effective as of July 1 2014 and others as of October 1 2014. The main target is to increase transparency and improve supervision of procedures, as well as to eliminate the possibilities for corruption.
The PPA is placed in a very dynamic environment – both at European and national level – and this determines the need for its adaptation.
On one hand the Act regulates the procedures to be followed for spending of public funds for implementation of state, municipality and other public entities projects, while on the other hand, precisely because of this focus of the law, it could become, if applied effectively and correctly, one of the main levers of market regulation. The manner in which the Act is applied effects whether small and medium- sized enterprises will be encouraged, whether the market competition will increase, whether citizens will feel that public funds are being spent effectively and appropriately for the benefit of the community, and ultimately, whether the confidence in the institutions and the authority of the public sector will increase.
The amendments and supplements once summarised, can be broadly categorized as follows:
Measures to reduce the bureaucratic and administrative burden. One of the new obligations introduced in this direction is the obligation of authorities to publish all documents on the buyer’s profile except for the confidential or classified information. Thus, in addition to achieving maximum publicity, it becomes unnecessary for participants to be forced to buy paper-based tender documentation.
Measures to improve the access of small, medium and start-up enterprises to public procurements. One of the changes here completely fulfills one of the requirements of Art. 44 of Directive 2004/18/ EC, which defines that the scope of the information and the minimum requirements related to a specific procurement must be proportionate to the subject of the contract. The ultimate goal of this proposal is, by means of introducing the principle of proportionality, to create conditions for the development of competition.
Other amendments of the Act are geared towards:
– Refining definitions and procedure rules to promote competition and to reduce the administrative burden;
– Increasing the level of administrative expertise and qualification;
– Control of execution of contracts ;
– Openness and transparency. The aim is to achieve full extent of publicity, not just for the procedures, but also for the execution of public contracts; and
– Labour protection and creating real opportunities for the implementation of procurement of specialized enterprises or cooperatives of people with disabilities.
All amendments here aim at providing opportunities for small and medium business, opportunities for new jobs, and opportunities for improving the effectiveness and appropriateness in spending public funds – either Bulgarian or European.
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