On 13 July 2012 the Belarusian President signed the Law on Public Procurement of Goods (Works, Services). The Law will enter into force on 1 January 2013 together with Resolution of the Council of Ministers of 22 August 2012 No. 778. Both legal acts were adopted in order to bring internal legislation into compliance with the international obligations of Belarus, in particular with the Agreement on Public (Municipal) Procurement signed in Moscow on 9 December 2010 within the framework of the Customs Union of Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan.
The new legislation on public procurement introduces the following major innovations:
Public procurement procedures unified
The Law merges regulation of public procurement in construction with regulation of other types of public procurement following the recommendations of the World Bank and bringing legislation into line with the Moscow Agreement, which requires procurement issues to be governed exclusively by public procurement laws. Before, these relations in Belarus were regulated by acts of the President.
Closed list of public procurement procedures established
The Law provides for six types of procedure that can be used for public procurement:
- open tender;
- closed tender;
- request for quotation;
- single source procurement;
- exchange bidding.
The Law almost completely repeats the provisions of the Moscow Agreement, except for the closed tender which is not included in the agreement.
- Closed tender will be used for information on goods which is a state secret, while open tender will be used for procurement of all other goods.
- E-auctions and exchange bidding will be used for procurement of goods that fall within the lists of goods (works, services) approved by the Council of Ministers for each of the two procedures.
- Information on public procurement made publicly accessible and more transparent
Firstly, the Law provides that information on public procurement should include: annual procurement plans, invitations to participate in tenders, documents provided to participants in open tenders and e-auctions for preparation of bids, information on the results of tenders, list of suppliers temporarily blocked from participating in public procurement procedures, and minutes of open tenders and e-auctions on bid opening, rejection of bids, and closing the books.
Secondly, an official web-site http://www.icetrade.by was created to accumulate information on public procurement as well as statistics and legal acts that regulate public procurement.
Thirdly, if procurement is by means of e-auction, the information must also be published in an electronic trading facility.
National treatment granted to foreign goods (work, services)
The new legislation introduces national treatment for foreign goods (work, services) and bidders offering those goods (work, services) provided that Belarusian goods (work, services) and bidders enjoy similar treatment by the respective foreign state.
Public procurement commissions to be established
The Law imposes upon the customer an obligation to establish commission(s) on organisation and to conduct procurement for all types of procurement procedures except for single source procurement and exchange bidding. A commission should be established either temporarily or permanently.
The customer must ensure that:
- the commission includes a member with expertise in the subject matter of the tender;
- one third of the commission is rotated annually;
- the same person takes part in the commission no longer than three years in a row.
Special public procurement authority to be established
The President of Belarus is vested with powers to appoint a government body with regulatory functions in the area of public procurement. As at the moment of releasing this news, the decision was pending.