PODGORICA—The bylaw that regulates procurement in the security sector, including police in Montenegro, will apply from 2020.

The Montenegrin Parliament will discuss the new Public Procurement Law until the end of the year since the European Commission’s opinion on the draft law arrived from Brussels, explained Director of Public Procurement Directorate Mersad Mujević at the panel discussion organized by the Institute Alternative on November 15.

“The European Commission had several remarks on the law, which mainly refer to legal protection, especially since the members of the State Commission for the Control of Public Procurement are appointed by the Government, not by the Parliament”, explained Mujević, who also leads the working group that writing the law.

Mujević added that the European Commission had no objections in relation to the state administration intention that the Government’s regulation, instead of the law, regulates procurement in the security and defense sector.

Head of the Public Procurement Directorate in the Ministry of Defense Stefan Šaponjić explained that the work on the new law is the main reason why the Government did not adopt so far regulation on procurement in security and defense and within legally prescribed deadlines.

“This regulation is prepared and will be adopted after the approval of the Law on Public Procurement. It will apply from 2020”, added Šaponjić.

Public Policy Researcher in the Institute Alternative Ana Djurnić said that regulation on procurement in security and defense must be publicly available. Moreover, it is necessary to organize public discussion before adoption so that all interested parties can give their suggestion and comments.

“Having in mind that the draft Regulation has already been prepared, public should be aware of: how it regulates the spending of money for procurement in the security and defense sector – confidential procurement, how planning is regulated and reporting on this procurement and which control mechanisms in this respect are provided by Regulation”, explained Djurnić.

Djurnić added that the Ministry of Interior so far has not prepared confidential procurement plans and that the report on them was prepared only for 2014.

“Therefore, we cannot say that planning and reporting on confidential procurements are well regulated or that it is aligned with the EU Directives’’, Djurnić said.

Blažo Savković from the State Audit Institution responsible for auditing the procurements in the security and defense sector emphasized that the “Ministry of Interior failed to plan procurement well”. In addition, needs assessment at the beginning of the year in defense and security sector is not well which affects problems in Public Procurement Plan implementation.

“The first indicator of bad planning is the frequent changes to the Public Procurement Plan – even nine times during the year. Although this is permitted by law, it is an indication of poor planning and assessments”, Savković said, adding that this often leads to the bad implementation of procurement procedures.

Head of the Public Procurement Bureau in the Ministry of Interior Zoran Milić said that the Ministry spent about 58 million Euros in public procurement in the previous five-year period.

“There are differences between the planned and executed public procurement budget because some tenders are announced at the end of the year, in November and December, and we will not finish until the end of the year,” Milić explained, adding that it was not about poor planning.

Marta Šćepanović, a member of the Democratic Party of Socialists in the Parliament and a member of the Committee for Security and Defense, said that “the issues raised at this event are of a great importance and largely in the domain of the work of the Security and Defense Committee’’.

She recommended that Institute Alternative “initiate a supervisory or consultative hearing on procurement in the security and defense sector, based on the findings of this and earlier findings of the Institute Alternative”.

TAGS: External OversightFinancial ManagementMontenegroPolice ReformProcurement