Public procurement in Venezuela is mainly regulated by three legal instruments: i) The Decree No. 1.399, thru which it is approved the Decree with Rank, Value and Force of Law of Public Contracting, published on November 19, 2014; ii) The Bylaws of the Law of Public Contracting, published on May 19, 2009; and iii) The Constitutional Law Against Economic War for the Rationality and Uniformity in the Acquisition of Goods, Services and Public Works, published on January 11, 2018.
Public Procurement Legislation is applied to ministries, state agencies, public universities, companies and enterprises in which the state holds at least 50% of the shares, public foundations established by public entities or where public entities have a great participation. Also, it is applied in regional and municipal levels (centralized and decentralized public entities and companies), and to social associations when they receive state funding.
The procurement system in Venezuela is decentralized, since each public entity executes its own public procurement processes. Law-making is awarded exclusively to the State Level, where the National Assembly has the competence for instruments ranked as Law and different public entities develop sub-legal instruments on the matter. The National Contracting Service develops broad procurement policies mainly addressed to technical affairs related to the National Registry of Contractors as well as gathering statistical information on public procurement. Venezuela does not have a centralized public body to enforce the application of the public procurement legislation, but is one of the areas covered by the audit procedures executed by the Organs of Fiscal Control which includes the Office of the National Comptroller and regional and municipal offices of comptrollers.
Venezuela does not have a single portal for hosting public procurement information. The portal of the National Contracting Service only includes initial information concerning the available procedures of Open Tender, however, there is no complete information of the entire process nor any information about the other three public procurement procedures (Close Tender, Price Consultation and Direct Procurement).
All procedures are almost 100% paper-based. Electronic means are only used for notification purposes, and all the files of the procedures are totally kept in paper. The information sent thru electronic means is printed in paper and added to the files. Although the Public Procurement Legislation establishes the possibility of executing electronic procedures, at this time all procedures are paper-based.
The transparency of the procedures has been challenged since 2014, when the current Law of Public Contracting set forth that the access to public contracting files is restricted to the persons that actually submitted a Tender and only after the procedure has ended. Regular citizens, associations or participants that were disqualified from the procedure before actually submitting a tender, have no legal right to access to the file.