EU Court of Auditors: 30% of Tenders Awarded With No Competition, Transparency Lacking

During 2017, 30% of the Albanian government’s public procurements have taken place via negotiation procedures with no preliminary announcement, rather than via open competition.

These are the conclusions of a report by the European Court of Auditors (ECA), an official EU institution that audits the finances of the entire EU.

Public tenders that are negotiated without announcement and competition carry a large risk of budgetary abuse. A lack of transparency and competition means that there won’t be multiple bids from multiple companies, at different prices.

The Public Procurement Agency, itself, has reported previously that negotiation-based procedures made use of nearly the entire available limit funds, as companies that enter the negotiations are predetermined and have no incentive to offer their services for a price lower than the tender’s limit fund.

Furthermore, ECA notes that Albania’s legal framework concerning public procurement has yet to begin resembling European ones. It isn’t even in accordance with the government’s economic management strategy.

The Albanian public procurement legislation allows for direct negotiation procurement procedures in “emergency cases” only. However, ECA notes that the law does not provides clear definition of an “emergency case,” which makes abuse on the part of institutions easier.

Among other things, ECA recommended that the government should attune the public procurement laws, not only to European ones, but also to Albania’s own economic management legislation. Furthermore, another recommendation meant to raise transparency is the establishment of an online system concerning direct negotiation public procurement procedures.