“In more than 90 percent of public procurement procedures in Serbia, price is still more important than quality,” said the National Alliance for Economic and Local Development (NALED) at the presentation of the analysis on public procurement procedures relating to architecture, consulting and planning services.
The analysis was carried out as part of the Effective Public Procurement Serving Economic Growth project implemented by NALED with support from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida). The project’s aims are to promote the greater application of “green” and social criteria in public procurement, as well as to support the improvement of the public procurement system through the development of a mobile procurement application, an eLearning platform, and a registry of bidders.
According to NALED, contracting authorities should conduct market research during procurement planning in order to better compile technical specifications, better specify the subject matter of the contract, and carefully select additional conditions for participation to encourage competition instead of limiting it.
Although 87 percent of companies have heard of quality criteria, only one-third use them, indicating the need for training to apply these criteria consistently and successfully.
Regarding architectural services analyzed by NALED, the money spent on these services in motorway construction projects in 2019 was 346 million euros, up from 133 million euros in 2011. In the 2021 plan, the Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS) was going to conclude 290 contracts with construction companies, of which 83 were providing architectural, engineering, and planning services. In planning services, NALED looked at the 100 highest value contracts in 2019, two of which had a total value of 12 million euros.
In two-thirds of the procedures analyzed, the estimated and agreed value were identical and the average number of bids in these contracts was 1.12, while price was the deciding factor in 96 percent of cases.
A similar situation was observed in the procurement of consulting services (translation, consulting, project preparation and supervision), where the quality criterion was used in less than 10 percent of the procedures and the number of tender participants remained below the national average (2.5).
This post is also available in: Italiano