“It brought stricter competition, doubled savings compared with ordinary tenders, and competitions last only one week,” ethics watchdog Transparency International Slovensko (TIS) wrote in its report evaluating the development of public procurements carried out in 2015.
The system currently has only a limited impact on savings as only 3 percent of all competitions were carried out via the e-marketplace, and it was used only by every fourth village in Slovakia, TIS informed, as reported by the TASR newswire.
The public administration carried out a total of 9,600 competitions amounting to €5.1 billion last year, which is one-third less than in 2014. This was a result of fewer competitions to build highways financed through EU funds. The spending on procurements is similar to the annual income from VAT. Half of the competitions were financed via EU funds, according to TIS.
The watchdog also praised the fact that the competition among suppliers in 2015 was higher than in previous years.
“The average number of bidders increased from 3.1 per competition in 2014 to 3.6 last year,” TIS wrote, as quoted by TASR, adding that it is the most since 2009.
On the other hand, the competitions are still long. The average duration, from announcing the order to closing the competition, is six months, like in 2014. When drawing EU funds, the competition is up to one month longer.
TIS also evaluates efforts to prevent shell companies from competing in public procurement via a register of end beneficiaries as a failure. Only 10 percent of companies registered in the official list do not publish their real owners. This concerns construction company Váhostav, one of the biggest state suppliers, as reported by TASR.
Moreover, nobody has been imprisoned for manipulating the competitions since 2012, while 12 people were punished with a conditional sentence or financial sanction.