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Transparency and Integrity

Bulgaria commits to keeping public contracting and government budgets open and transparent to prevent and expose the theft and misuse of taxpayers’ money.

Country: Bulgaria

Status: ongoing

Themes: Public procurement

Last updated: December 2020

Classification:

Concrete: Concrete | New: Somewhat New | Ambitious: Ambitious

  • 7 Evidence:

    Public procurement register

    Measures and Actions during the State of Emergency Act

    Covid-19: Bulgarian Parliament extends State of Emergency to May 13

    Bulgaria amends its Emergency Measures Act

    Draft law for amendment of the Public Procurement Act

    The State Motor Company will build 134 km from the Hemus Motorway

    Bulgaria picks state-owned Avtomagistrali to build 134 km of Hemus motorway

  • 8 Notes:

    The Bulgarian public procurement register is freely available and quite comprehensive compared to other countries. In 2020, the Public Procurement Agency introduced a new e-procurement portal, where one can find information of all public tenders in the country (launched after mid-June 2020). That, however, does not provide for sufficient guarantees for prevention of misuse of taxpayers’ money. The COVID-19 crisis created conditions for opaque procurement: the excuse of the need of quick response has materialised in amendment of the Bulgarian procurement legislation (art. 13 of the Measures and Actions during the State of Emergency Act). The amendment allowed for buying of medicine and medical equipment during the emergency state without conducting procurement procedures at all, although the Public Procurement Act (PPA) in principle provides for “special” procedures in emergency context, e.g. restricted procedure, or direct award. If PPA was applied, the contracting authorities would have been obliged to at least publish the awarded contracts, while the except from its application means complete opaqueness of the spent money. Another issue worth mentioning is the more frequent cases of deny of access to information under FOIA legislation in the last years. A recent case is in connection of FOIA inquiry, submitted by TI-Bulgaria to the Road Infrastructure Agency (RIA). The RIA formally granted access, but instead of providing documentation electronically, as requested, they provided it in the form of on-the-spot review. The proposed dates were during the pic of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country when all public administrations were closed for external visitors. Even the management of RIA had issued an ordinance prohibiting admission of persons outside the administration to the headquarters only 3 days before the decision for “granting” of the access to information. TI-Bulgaria challenged the decision in court, which decided in their favour. The case, however, is a vivid example of how the transparency and integrity principles are in practice taken on board.

    Updated: October 31, 2020

    The Public Procurement Agency maintains a publicly available register of all tenders launched in the country. According to the Public Procurement Act, all public bodies are obliged to publish tendering documentation and certain set of information for each separate procedure on their websites. With the implementation of the new e-procurement system, it is expected that information about all tenders conducted in the country will be available in a unified portal. While we recognize these measures are a step forward to increasing transparency of public funds spending, high standards are yet to be accomplished. Moreover, there are recent examples of in-house contracting, which, in fact, gets around the strict procurement regime and leads to opaque allocation of significant sums. One such case involves the Road Infrastructure Agency which awarded a contract worth ~580 million euro for a motorway construction to a state company. The latter is broadly known for sub-contracting most of its activities and for not possessing the capacity to perform such big assignment.

    Updated: April 30, 2020

    No change since spring 2019

    Updated: October 30, 2019

    While we recognize these measures (see October 2018 update about the Public Procurement Act) are a step forward to increasing of transparency of the public funds spending, high standards are yet to be accomplished. Moreover, there are recent examples of in-house contracting, which in fact get around the strict procurement regime and lead to opaque allocation of significant sums. One such case involves the Road Infrastructure Agency which awarded a contract worth ~580 million euro for motorway construction to a state company. The latter is broadly known for sub-contracting most of its activities and for not possessing the capacity to perform such big assignment

    Updated: May 30, 2019

    Additional evidence also confirms that "Road Infrastructure Agency intends to award the contract without a public procurement procedure as both the agency and Avtomagistrali are directly controlled by the regional development ministry"

    Peer reviewer: 1

    Updated: May 30, 2019

    The Public Procurement Agency maintains a publicly available register of all tenders launched in the country. According to the Public Procurement Act, all public bodies are obliged to publish tendering documentation and certain set of information for each separate procedure on their websites. With the implementation of the new e-procurement system, it is expected that information about all tenders conducted in the country will be available at a single portal. The system should be fully implemented by 1 January 2021. Also, in June 2018 the PPA proposed amendments to the Public Procurement Act, which among others provide for publication of all agreements with subcontractors, concluded between the latter and the selected contractor. These measures should be recognized as a step forward to increasing of transparency of the public procurement. However, high standards are yet to be accomplished.

    Updated: October 30, 2018

    The Public Procurement Agency maintains a publicly available register of all tenders launched in the country. According to the Public Procurement Act, all public bodies are obliged to publish tendering documentation and certain set of information for each separate procedure. However, high standards are yet to be accomplished.

    Updated: June 30, 2018

Bulgaria's Commitments
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