On July 24, 2019, the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) "Viitorul" held the round table An efficient complaint settlement system is instrumental for an efficient public procurement system." Representatives of the National Agency for Solving Complaints (ANSC), the Public Procurement Agency (PPA), contracting authorities, economic operators, non-governmental organizations, erc., participated actively in discussions with clarifications, comments, and proposals addressed to the decision-makers.
Two position-papers were presented at the event, documents in which the experts assessed the functioning of the system for solving public procurement complaints in terms of observing the principles of transparency, efficiency, and impartiality in ANSC's work, as well as a number of non-uniform practices identified in the decisions issued by NASC in the process of settling appeals. There were also discussed the current problems in the appeals system, the challenges in respecting the principles of good governance, especially the decisional transparency within the National Agency for Solving Complaints, as well as the policy proposals on the identified problems.
The position paper presented in the first panel of the round table was An efficient complaint solving system is instrumental for an efficient public procurement system, drafted by Diana Enachi and Viorel Pârvan, both experts at IDIS Viitorul, who used a methodology that combines a range of tools - such as interviews, the analysis of the primary legislative and regulatory frameworks, as well as the analysis of reports and information published by NASC. The authors of the report showed that although only 3% of the total number of procurement procedures were contested in 2018, the value of the disputed acquisitions is significantly higher and represents about 20% of the total public procurement procedures carried out in 2018 ( 2,5 billion MDL).
In the second part of the event, Maria Covalciuc, Chair of the Association for Efficient and Responsible Governance (AGER), mentioned the challenges towards ensuring genuine transparency of NASC. The experts have highlighted the open call of the civil society organizations which led to the declassification of NASC's decisions through the request to indicate the names of the decision-making counselors and to the publication of NASC's decisions on the composition of the panels for the settlement of appeals, as well as to the republishing of about 270 decisions taken from 18 March to 5 July 2019. The public procurement expert Vadim Țurcan outlined the non-uniform practices identified in the process of examination and solving of the complaints by ANSC.
The authors of the two position papers formulated a series of recommendations on improving the system of complaints and the effectiveness of ANSC's activity, including the need to standardize and unify the legal practice in terms of appeal resolution, thus ensuring a high level of objectivity and impartiality; the need to work towards ensuring true transparency in decision-making; the need to implement the digitization of the appeal system, as well as the imperative of strengthening the cooperation between NASC on the one hand, and various institutions with attributions in the field of procurement on the other hand, including the Ministry of Finance, the Public Procurement Agency, the Court of Accounts, the Financial Inspection, the National Anticorruption Center, and so on.
The round table was held within the «Cutting edge improvements in the public procurement system in Moldova through inclusiveness, creativity and law-abiding practices» Project, funded by the EU through the Civil Society Strengthening Program to Monitor Budget Support Operations.