On 6 July 2021, the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), with the support of the European Union, held an online workshop on the Covid-19 pandemic-related public procurements.
The purpose of the event was to discuss the challenges of accessibility of the Covid-19 related public procurements and ways to address them with the participation of the representatives of public institutions, media, and civil society.
The event was opened and moderated by the project coordinator, Teona Turashvili. After the welcoming remarks, representatives of IDFI, Georgian Reform Association (GRASS), and Studio Monitor made presentations.
Mariam Gogiashvili, analyst of IDFI presented the main findings of the systemic problems identified during the monitoring of Covid-19-related public procurements. Nazibrola Rekhviashvili, Senior Analyst at GRASS, and Marika Dudunia, Investigative Journalist at Studio Monitor,also discussed their experiences. The problematic experiences highlighted by the speakers regarding procurement publicity and monitoring difficulties turned out to be largely similar. The main problems were the inability to link documents uploaded in CMR and SMP modules, the publicity of simplified procurement contracts by several agencies, and the vague standard of justification for urgency.
Following the reports, the current challenges were discussed with the representatives of public institutions, including the State Procurement Agency. Different solutions were suggested by the speakers, both through changes in the electronic system and by the refinement of legislative regulations. In addition, one of the attendees from the civil society suggested renewing the practice of permanent meetings between the Procurement Agency and civil society, which was supported by all participants.
IDFI also voiced its suggestions for the improvement of the tender system, including creating a separate module on Covid-related procurements and adding search a mechanism in the database of simplified tenders by SMP code.
The online workshop was held in the framework of the project – “Monitoring Covid-19 related Public Spendings and Human Rights Protection during the State of Emergency and After”, which is implemented by IDFI, with the financial support of the European Union, since July 2020.