Sarajevo, June 10, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Mladen Dragojlovic
“Open Public Procurement in BiH” was the name of EU funded project which ended this week. The conclusions derived from the project were presented at the round table in Sarajevo.
More transparency, better monitoring of public procurement processes and improved legal framework are necessary for the improvement of the public procurement system in BiH, are just some of the conclusions on this round table. Head of Operations Section for Justice and Home Affairs, Public Administration Reform at the EU Delegation to BiH, Chloe Berger, said at the session that EU role and activity in the country in the field of public procurement has always been supportive of progressive reform measures, fulfilment of international obligations and in particular, benefits for the country and its people.
“Public procurement is as a powerful tool towards growth and development, it defines the rules and framework for the management of a significant proportion of the public spending and therefore the establishment of a clear, strict though flexible and transparent mechanism is of high importance”, Berger said.
The round table was organised by the partners of the project, Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN), Center for Social Research – Analitika and Center for Public Interest – Foundation CPI. The aim of the round table was to present results of the project aimed toward strengthening the public procurement system in BiH.
One of the outcomes of the project is the development of the specialised web-site (www.cin.ba/nabavke), that contains expert analyses of policies and legislative framework, recommendations for improving the system of public procurement, investigative stories and a data base of 50 companies that received a third of the total money spent through public procurement in the last five years.
Director of the CIN, Leila Bicakcic, said that participants in the project believe that BiH citizens deserve to know who are the owners of these companies, how they operate, with whom they are related, if they receive incentives and do they give money to political parties.
“Significant amount of money from public funds is spent on public procurement every year, so it is necessary to improve transparency and accountability of public institutions participating in public procurement”, Bicakcic said.
Another web-site www.gdjejelova.ba (in translation: where is the money?) was also developed as part of this project, which in addition to news on public procurement in BiH, publishes stories written by the organisations participating in the project, based on the monitoring of public procurement process in areas and sectors in which they operate. Part of project is the publishing of the online database, which contain information on more than 50.000 contracts in the value over BAM 7.5 billion (3.750 billion Euro) that were concluded through public procurement from 2011 until the end of 2015.
Nermina Voloder from Analitika emphasized that citizens must have information on whether public money is spent rationally and for the right purpose. As she said, each institution has the obligation to disclose how they carry out the procurement procedures, explain whether these procurements are based on real needs, and if deadlines and contractual amounts are actually respected.
“Greater transparency in public procurement would reduce the possibilities for corruption, creating at the same time conditions for more responsible and efficient operation of public administration”, Voloder said.
Project outcomes that directly support implementation of the Action plan for Fight against Corruption in BiH, were also presented at the Round table, with the aim to initiate discussion on the importance of cooperation of all stakeholders on the strengthening of the public procurement system in BiH, through stronger transparency and active role of private sector and civil society.