This Monday, May 17th, the Legislative Assembly unanimously approved in a second debate the draft General Law on Public Procurement, File No. 21,546. With this approval, the bill will now pass to the Executive Branch for its final signature. The new Law requires a regulation and will enter into force in 18 months, after its publication in the official journal “La Gaceta”.

The Law modifies all legal norms concerning public procurement and repeals certain special regulations. Likewise, it unifies and regulates all legislation on contractual activity that makes total or partial use of public funds.

Among the main novelties of the Law is the use of ordinary public procurement procedures - as opposed to the tendency to use exceptional procedures, such as direct contracting. To this end, procedures were simplified, exceptions to ordinary procedures were reduced, and the requirements for their use were adjusted. The new ordinary regime contemplates the figures of higher tenders, minor tenders, and reduced tenders, depending on their amount.

The Law introduces other novel aspects, including:

  • The execution of all public procurement activities through the unified digital system, which currently corresponds to the SICOP virtual platform.
  • The creation of an electronic registry of suppliers and subcontractors, which will include affidavits, background information, qualifying markers, contractual history, etc.
  • The promotion of social, economic, environmental and innovation considerations in the specifications of the contracting procedures.
  • The introduction of innovative public procurement as a mechanism to improve the provision of public services, including public-private partnerships.
  • The possibility of using any contractual figure not expressly regulated in the Costa Rican legal system if a series of requirements are met.
  • The enforcement of fines for the presentation of reckless appeals.