Moldova’s Public procurement system is currently undergoing drastic changes. The Association Agreement with the European Union (EU) and current obligations of Moldova’s government (2016-2020 Public Procurement Development Strategy) will gradually harmonize Moldova’s Public Procurement Legislation (PPL) with that of the EU Procurement Directives and introduce novelties to the procurement legislation.
These changes are bearing their first results, as a new electronic public procurement platform the “M-Tender” had been launched in a test mode recently. The system is being elaborated in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and 51 000 USD was provided as grant for the system. M-Tender is going through initial check-up and testing and it is expected to be fully operational by the beginning of 2018.
The M-Tender system was elaborated by representatives of the Ministry of Finance of Moldova, as well as private companies hired by the ministry. EBRD international experts were involved in the creation of the concept and guidance throughout the process. The prototype for the Moldovan system was the Ukrainian “Prozorro”, which once again shows how important cross-border cooperation is for the development of innovative tools that help curb down on corrupt practices.
The basis of the new system is transparency and accessibility to public procurement related information. The new E-platform aims to be simple, informative, comprehensive and user-friendly. Currently, the Moldovan public procurement system is a hybrid one, which means that both electronic and paper-based procurement procedures are legitimate means of conducting public procurement. However, the future plans may root out paper-based procurement completely and rely solely on electronic means.
If we consider the prototype for the Moldovan system, its Ukrainian counterpart, several important features are expected to be included in the M-Tender. Since transparency and access to information is the bulk of the procurement system, any interested party will be able to view the procurement process from start till the end. Information on tender documentation, bids, participants, selection process, winner, contract and its performance will be accessible online free of charge (currently, part of the listed information is not available for public or requires a fee to be paid).
Additionally, the electronic system will provide potential to aggregate the information on public procurement, which simplifies the process of analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the public procurement system substantially. The electronic system also provides possibility and prospect to create a red-flag system for public procurement, which enables the monitoring entity, may it be public procurement agency or any other state institution, to identify risky public procurements, thus narrowing down the procurements to review for possible corruption.
M-Tender is also good news for the business as well, especially for small and medium sized enterprises. One of the biggest advantages of the electronic procurement system is that it makes procurement process more competitive, as the E-Systems eradicate the geographical barriers connected to paper-based procurement. Anybody connected to internet can participate in electronic tender, despite being in another city or even country. Furthermore, in case the aggregated data on procurement is open license (free to reuse), business may use it for market study and analysis of competitors (bids, prices etc).
Overall, it is yet to be seen what the newly developed electronic system is capable of or what it will entail. In the meantime, first tests already proved to be successful and promising, as 7 government entities are already part of the M-Tender. Currently, only 13 open tenders were announced and conducted, leading to saving around 5 000 USD.