Albanian President Ilir Meta has refused to decree the expansion of private oil terminal MBM into a freight port, sending the concessionary contract changes passed by the Socialist majority on April 30 back to parliament.
The President argued that by expanding MBM’s concessionary contract, the Ministry of Infrastructure has violated fair competition procedures, seeing as the expansion was done via direct negotiation between the government and the concessionary company.
Though the Ministry considered them merely a contract expansion, the changes made to the concessionary contract have formed a new relationship between the government and the company. Therefore, the Ministry should have opened a call for bids for a new tender and have a new competition, as stipulated by public procurement legislation.
Meta also argued that the Ministry had also infringed on the hierarchy of normative acts, as predicted by the Albanian Constitution.
In June 2015, the Rama government signed a 35-year concessionary contract for the construction and operation of an oil terminal in the Porto Romano area near Durres. The concessionary company, MBM Port (Multi Buoy Mooring) is owned by Kastrati Group (65%), Europetrol Group (35%), and Salillari shpk (1%).
The changes to MBM’s concessionary contract would allow the oil terminal operator to anchor and store ships carrying a variety of other trade goods.