Certain sections of the Public Procurements Act should be debated in parliament via fast-tracked legislative proceedings, possibly during the current parliamentary session, according to a proposal approved by the government at its special session on Monday, February 11. It remains unclear which exact parts of the law are in question, as the document itself has not been revealed.
Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák, whose ministry submitted the legislation, indicated in advance that there will be three measures aimed at shortening the process of public procurements that at the same time are not subject to extensive criticism. The main aim should be to accelerate the drawing of EU Funds.
"Basically, this is about unifying the comment-proceedings system. Another thing is making things simpler for businessmen," said Kaliňák on RTVS's radio discussion programme ‘Sobotné dialógy’ on Saturday.
No law should be adopted in a way in which the government wants to push through some parts of the Public Procurements Act, especially not legislation based on which billions of euros will be spent, said the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) MP Lucia Žitňanská on Monday, as quoted by the TASR newswire. According to her, the government has not explained the reason why it wants to adopt adjustments to the law on public procurements via fast-tracked legislation proceedings. She also claims that drawing EU Funds, which has been highlighted by Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák as the key reason for the accelerated process, certainly cannot be the main motivation behind the move.
The proposal is harmful, said Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) chairman Ján Figeľ at a press conference. According to him, the government-sponsored changes will create room for hasty decisions and pave the way for corruption, cronyism and the non-transparent handling of money. In addition, Figeľ views as most problematic a measure to transfer power to supervise individual bids to the Public Procurements Office (ÚVO), which is controlled by people affiliated with Smer. Furthermore, he also views as suspicious, in terms of extending room for corruption and cronyism, the proposed 'institution of statutory declaration', which enables bidders to declare that all the conditions have been met only by means of a statutory declaration. Figeľ also cautioned that certain clauses included in the amendment might not be compatible with European law.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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