A roundtable discussion on the activities and problems of public procurement in Ferizaj

Ferizaj, July 18, 2014 – Today, FOL Movement has organized a roundtable discussion in Ferizaj on the topic “Public procurement activities in the first six months of the year.” During this meeting was presented a report with summarized statistics on procurement activities initiated by Gjakova municipality.
Participants in this meeting were the Mayor of Ferizaj, Muharrem Svarqa, director of procurement, Hanife Obrazhda – Selimi, assembly members of various political parties and representatives of civil society and media.

Kenan Tora from FOL Movement said that the purpose of that meeting was to discuss the possible problems and irregularities that might go with the development of public procurement procedures in Ferizaj Municipality. He further went on with the findings of the report of the municipality stating that during the first 6 months of this year Gjakova Municipality has announced 47 contract notices, 31 notices of contract award, 0 cancellation notices and 2 cancellation of the contract award, whereas the PRB has taken two decision against Ferizaj Municipality by returning a procurement activity in re-evaluation. Regarding the problems that are generally present in public procurement, he stressed the problem of non-standardization of the drafting process of the tender dossier, exceptionally low prices, non-coordination between different institutions and non-professionalism of evaluation committees.

Later spoke the Mayor of the Municipality of Ferizaj Muharrem Svarqa, who said that irregularities or problems raised by FOL Movement are partly present in the Ferizaj as well. He went on to say that there are often cases with exceptionally low prices and that this problem has been present in one of the cases that were sent to the PRB and that from now on they will seriously consider along with the procurement office cases where it is suspected that economic operators are trying to manipulate with low prices lower and these cases will be send to the prosecutor. The mayor Svarqa then went on saying that since coming to power he has implemented the standard of not allowing to tender in case they do not have available funds in order to avoid debts as it used to happen in the previous government and they have inherited these debts. He said that he also was working on implementation of the standard of not accepting guarantees from insurance companies except of banks and he had tried to have a systematic approach in order to address the evident problems and procurement office do its work in the most professional manner.

Whereas the procurement manager Obrazhda-Selimi said that exceptionally low prices are a problem constantly present in offers of economic operators and that this is creating serious problems in selecting quality bidders and then is reflected in the performance of work. In terms of professionalism, she said that committees tend to be professional but there is always a goal to do better, particularly in the context of supervision of activity.
Admir Salihu a law assistant, said that in despite that the current Public Procurement Law has some shortcomings, this does not prevent a contracting authority to develop procedures in a professional manner and that the municipal authorities should pay more attention to non-discrimination of economic operators.

On the other hand, Afrim Demiri, a journalist said that there should be investments in the procurement office capabilities and professionalism and that this office has often fallen prey to pressures from outside and even qualified as a black hole. He went on to say that the procurement office should report directly to the Municipal Assembly and in terms of project implementation should pay attention to the supervision of the activity based the signed contract.

Gazmend Rexhepi from INPO, in the context of the supervision of the implementation of projects said that it is evidenced that the Municipality of Ferizaj has more employees than it should, therefore, it should engage its employees in supervision of works and make sure they are done properly.