Legislative shortages and the complexity of the procedure prevent the use of the framework agreement from public procurement procedures

The gaps in the primary and secondary legislation, the complexity of the procedure as well as the lack of experience and understanding of this method by contracting authorities prevent the harnessing the potential of the framework agreement in the field of public procurement, according to the results of the "Policy recommendations in the field of public procurement in the Republic of Moldova" presented at IDIS "Viitorul". In the past 5 years, the evolution of framework agreements and the value of public procurement under framework agreements have gone through a positive trend during 2013-2015 and a negative one in  2015-2016. In 2018 there is an increase in both the number of agreements and subsequent contracts, as well as in the value of public procurement, according to data available for the first semester of 2018.

As a result of the analysis of data on framework agreements concluded by contracting authorities in the country, it was noted that the framework agreement is mainly used for the procurement of air transport services. Over the past 3 years, contracting authorities have also concluded framework agreements for the procurement of various commercial and related services: for various transport equipment and spare parts; engineering services; printing and related services, as well as for office machinery, equipment, and accessories, except computers, printers, and furniture. In 2018 there is a diversification of goods and services acquired through the initiation and conclusion of framework agreements, which indicates a wider use of this special procurement procedure by the authorities.

The Expert in Public Procurement, Ecaterina Meaun, argues that the framework agreement has a number of benefits: "The lack of the obligation to have financial resources at the moment of the conclusion of the framework agreement, the reduction of the administrative expenses for the procurement procedures, the possibility of switching to a different contractor in certain risk situations, greater transparency and competition, including competition within the framework agreement itself. " The expert also mentioned some of the risks  when using the framework agreement, such as: applying discriminatory/incomplete qualification and selection criteria; a possible substantial change in the prices of goods, services or works during a four year framework agreement and the use of the so-called "best value for money" criteria with the inclusion of other irrelevant and / or non-quantifiable factors.

Some of the recommendations formulated for the regulators were the elaboration and approval of a new Regulation on the framework agreement as a special way of awarding public procurement contracts, training and capacity building of the authorities, but also the elaboration of a guide on the implementation of the framework agreement. For contracting authorities, the recommendations refer to the need to abstain from the modification of participation conditions at the stage of awarding the contract under a framework agreement and the application of the sanctions provided for in the framework agreement and transposed into subsequent contracts, a mandatory step if the contractual obligations are not fulfilled.

Also at the 17 January 2019 round table, IDIS "Viitorul" expert Viorel Pîrvan presented the policy proposals - the Regulation on the approval of the list of contracting entities and the minimum mandatory transparency requirements for the procurement procedure. The expert mentioned the list of contracting entities and the minimum mandatory transparency requirements for the procurement, the need for state-owned enterprises, municipal enterprises, legal entities (SRL, SA) where the state and the territorial administrative units hold shares to use the public procurement system electronic SIA RSAP (MTender). At the same time, it was recommended that they publish on their web pages (alternatively on the founders' web pages) the information on ongoing and completed procurement procedures.

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