Bulgaria’s Parliament passed at second reading on April 30 amendments to the Public Procurement Act, meant to increase transparency of the process.
The amendments were passed at first reading in October 2013, but have been delayed in committees. The bill has been on the National Assembly’s agenda since February, but never got to a vote, as debates on the top agenda items routinely leave Parliament with no time to vote on the tail end of the agenda, which is then usually postponed for the following week.
In the meantime, new EU regulations on public procurement were passed in January 2014 – prompting Deputy Prime Minister Daniela Bobeva, who oversees all economy portfolios, to say that in order to avoid further delays, the bill will be passed as it is, with more amendments to be tabled in the autumn of 2014.
The key provisions of the bill passed on April 30 are the requirement for all tender documentation to be published online – replacing the existing practice, in which interested companies had to purchase the tender documentation in printed form.
Additionally, the amendments allow state institutions and municipalities to hand contracts directly to commercial entities wholly-owned by the respective institutions or municipalities – previously, such in-house contracting was only allowed in the case of municipalities and municipality-owned utility companies.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)