Every third person in Serbia is familiar with the public procurement system and the share of people whose primary source of information about public procurement is TV, with 50% of the surveyed people citing that medium – said the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED).
NALED’s survey of individuals, suppliers and procuring companies, which was carried out by the Ipsos Agency, shows that the other two most cited sources of information about public procurement in Serbia are social media and website but when it comes to the veracity of data, they still believe official sources – the government and government ministries.
Slightly over half of the surveyed citizens believe that the public procurement system in Serbia is good, but suppliers think otherwise with almost 42% not taking part in public procurement.
Furthermore, the bidders who, in the past three years, have taken part in public tenders more frequently estimate that procurement procedures in Serbia are transparent and in line with the law. According to NALED’s Director, Violeta Jovanovic, the only way for the system to be essentially improved and to build trust is to implement concrete measures which will make bidding equal for everybody, such as the full implementation of the new law, providing training on how to use the relevant public procurement website and using the criterion of the financially most favourable bid.
She added that additional training was needed to perfect and prepare the models by which the criteria could be set and used. This year as well, healthcare is the priority field in which, according to the opinion of 77% of the surveyed citizens, the most money should be invested through public procurement procedures, followed by education (53%), infrastructure and roads (36%) and environmental protection (31%). Environmental aspects of the bidding are becoming increasingly important.
Furthermore, the survey participants say that the main reason why the quality criterion is not used more often in assessing bids is that the procurement assessed primarily on the quality of the bid is riskier (59 percent), followed by the fact that officials are not sufficiently trained to conduct procurements based on the criteria other than the price (27 percent), while 6 percent believe that there are no universal models based on which it is possible to determine the criteria.
The survey also showed that nine out of ten entities that launch a public procurement believe that they have all the required knowledge for using the relevant website and organizing a public procurement, while 95 percent of them stated that they need additional training to acquire knowledge for applying other criteria in deciding on the best bid.
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