The State is inclined, at least in the insurance contracting, by more competitive methods. During the correísmo, the adjudications had no contest.
It is an onerous obligation that becomes transparent little by little. The contracting of insurance for the State generates a considerable expenditure every year. In the first four months of 2019, for example, 56.2 million dollars were allocated for the contracting of policies for bureaucrats, personal property, real estate and other obligations.
Unlike in previous years, at least to date, it is highlighted that the company with state capital, Seguros Sucre, was not the largest awarded company. National companies, ministries, secretariats and local governments opted for other actors. First of all, from January to April of this year, Hispana de Seguros stands with contracts for 32.4 million dollars.
The second position corresponds to another private entity. Aseguradora del Sur obtained contracts with the State for 15 million dollars in the first quarter of 2019. Only in third place is the state Sucre, with an assigned amount of 14.7 million dollars. Less than 1% of the total spent on public purchases so far this year.
The change in the manner of contracting of public entities responds, in part, to the government’s request to find mechanisms to reduce expenses. During the government of former President Rafael Correa, the contracting of insurance was mostly made through inter-administrative adjudication. That is, a special process -which is not initially reported to the National Public Procurement Service (Sercop) – that is done directly between public entities.
The mechanism of the past decade generated several complaints from the Association of Insurance Companies of Ecuador (Acose). On June 25, 2018, EXPRESO published a series of documents that showed that the State ‘blind’ Seguros Sucre with the almost mandatory signing of contracts.
The discomfort of private entrepreneurs, coupled with the request for austerity, caused state institutions to seek alternatives in the market. In some cases, this search produced savings for the country and services that were more adjusted to the needs of the entities.
Sucre, in response to the 2018 claim, assured that the services they provide comply with the parameters of the general market.
Petroamazonas is an example of those who looked for new options. The policy contracted this year for the staff of the state oil company, for more than $ 300,000, was consigned through a tender. There was no direct contracting.
The same mechanism used the National Transit Commission of Ecuador. The public body is in the question and answer phase to acquire insurance for $ 916,000.
In the phase of questions, answers and clarifications is also the public company Ferrocarriles del Ecuador. The entity, which is part of the merger plan to optimize public spending, offers $ 778,556.63 for the insurance of the machinery and tractive equipment it has.
Even decentralized autonomous governments opt for a contest with more suppliers. The Municipality of Guayaquil is about to obtain a multi-risk insurance for 4.9 million dollars.
70 alerts to the Comptroller
The processes of public purchase are monitored from several fronts. The first filter is the National Public Procurement Service (Sercop). When irregularity hiring attempts are detected, sanctions are established and, if the case merits, they are sent to other control bodies for investigations that may result in criminal sanctions.
So far this year, the Sercop has sent 70 public procurement processes to the Comptroller General of the State. The findings are reported for the control entity to initiate special examinations and establish the responsibility, or not, for the use of state resources and assets.
The Sercop can not provide details of the 70 processes reported because, according to their spokespersons, innocence is presumed until after the investigation of the case.
The Public Procurement Service delivers the detected information monthly to the Comptroller’s Office.
During the correísmo, the contracting was ordered without contests and directly by insurers with more than 50% of public capital.
The company Sucre is owned, in more than the percentage ordered, of the National Financial Corporation (CFN).
Inter-administrative contracting is a tool that is still in force in the law. (I)