A study by Sercop and the World Bank determined that contracts valued at $ 18,753 million were awarded without any competition. The public purchase from 2013 to 2017 did not give way to greater competition among suppliers.
On the contrary, in that period 73% of processes had a sole bidder and, therefore, there was no bidding process to the downside.
The reason? A study carried out between the National Recruitment Service (Sercop) and the World Bank (WB) reveals that recruitment was abused under the special regime, which despite being exceptional cases (as the law indicates) “its use is recurrent”. Thus, $ 18,753 million of public purchases were made without competition.
In 2013, 52% of the acquisitions were made through a single offeror and in 2017 it was 44%.
Public Procurement Infogram Just $ 3,271 million correspond to processes that had more than three suppliers. 16% of procedures were made with three offers onwards, only at that time savings are generated. The Public Procurement Law allows the use of a special regime to deal with emergency, unplanned circumstances, allowing direct contracting.
But the exceptionality was not fulfilled in most cases, said Silvana Vallejo, director of the Sercop. It was not an exclusive practice of the Central Government, but it occurred at all levels of the State, especially in the decentralized autonomous governments (GAD), in which more abuses were detected.
One of the findings of the study was that the prices obtained under the special regime were, on average, twice as expensive. This happens because each entity that uses that contractual figure establishes its own rules, which is covered by the law. “When analyzing the prices in which it was contracted with special regime versus common regime, if they entered competition, it would have meant a saving of $ 1,400 million,” said Vallejo.
In 2017, 19,092 contracts were signed for a special regime with a budget of $ 2,148.4 million, but $ 2,145.3 million were executed. The savings was $ 3.1 million. By common system, 99,997 processes were made, for which $ 3,945.8 million were budgeted and $ 3,704.1 million were executed. The difference meant a saving of $ 241.7 million. Xavier Vizcaíno, an international consultant who took part in the study, pointed out that savings under the common system was 6.1% (of the budget) compared to 0.14% of the special regime. “With a common system, you save 43 times more than the special one,” said Vizcaíno.
Another finding of the research is that in 2016 the category of social communication was the one that most used the modality of special regime. “We are talking about billions of dollars that were hunted,” said the consultant.
The category includes hiring for advertising space for radio and television commercials (32%), planning services, creation and execution of advertising campaigns (9.34%), services related to the request of advertising space in radio and television stations (7.96%), event production (3.66%), space sales services in newspapers (3.59%). The problem of having only one supplier, explained Vizcaíno, is that you do not have anything to compare with or where to choose from.
“The buyer accepts the conditions imposed by the supplier.” Given this scenario, the Government will implement restrictions on this type of special contracting. The goal is to save $ 400 million. In the coming days, the Sercop will present the reforms to the Public Procurement Law.
The guidelines are to extend automatic controls to all types of contracting, and increase the participation and concurrence of suppliers, in order to achieve more competitive prices.
Relation to GDP Public purchase in 2013 represented 41.5% against the General State Budget (PGE) and 11.4% in relation to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For 2017 it was 19.6% compared to the PGE and 5.7% compared to the GDP.
50 companies have the first purchase option from the State as sole providers. Purchases at the end of the year 30% of acquisitions occur in the last quarter of the year. Prices are higher in November and December. (I)