Belarus adopted new public procurement legislation (PPL) in 2012 in order to comply with the international obligations of the Republic, in particular with the Agreement on Public (Municipal) Procurement signed in Moscow on December 9, 2010, within the framework of the Customs Union between Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan.
The new PPL introduced several major innovations. Firstly, procurement procedures were unified and the law now provides 6 types of procedures that can be used for public procurement: open tender, closed tender, e-auction, request for quotation, single source (direct) procurement and exchange bidding. Information on public procurement was made more accessible through a procurement website - http://www.icetrade.by, which accumulates information on public procurement as well as statistics and legal acts that regulate public procurement.
The TPPR assessment identified major flaws in the general characteristics of the procurement system, articles regulating post-tendering phase of the procurement and the accountability and integrity of the system.
The scope of coverage of PPL does not include all sectors of the economy where competition is possible (building and construction industry, certain services in the area of healthcare and medicine, as well as ICT are excluded from the scope of the Public Procurement). Even though the e-platform is fully functional, the PPL does not stipulate that electronic means is the primary method of conducting public procurement, neither of communication between procuring entities and tender participants.
PPL does not stipulate that each procuring entity has a staff member responsible for conducting procurement activities, which potentially can lead to technical issues while conducting a procurement process. One of the major flaws is that PPL does not stipulate that justification for using a non-competitive procedure (e.g. direct procurement) must be made public by the procuring entity.
Better internal and external Quality Control and Audit remain one of the most pressing issues of the PPL of Belarus.
The Assessment showed positive developments in terms of the level of transparency related to publishing procurement documents. Notices of intended procurement, tender documentation, bids offered by potential suppliers, decisions of tender commissions, contracts and contract performance information is public and available in machine-readable format. However, the quality of the information published still needs improvement to be full and comprehensive. Additionally, dispute settlement related information can also become public and available in machine readable format.
Currently, the new Law on Amendments and Addenda to the Law of the Republic of Belarus "On public procurement of goods (works, services)" will be adopted in 2017, which will aim to address several of the issues identified by the TPPR assessment.