Main page
 
Press Release
04/08/2020   President: information about COVID-19 procurement should be public

The President of the Republic of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda, at a meeting with representatives of the Public Procurement Office (PPO), the National Audit Office (NAO) and the Special Investigation Service (SIS), discussed how state funds are used to manage an emergency caused by the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), which potential abuse risks have been identified and how they could be avoided in the future.

According to the Head of the State, as the possible second wave of COVID-19 is approaching, it is important to seriously evaluate the lessons learned and learn from them.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, it was clear that public procurement would have to be carried out quickly, but with the greatest possible transparency and effective prevention of corruption. Therefore, it is totally intolerable that some contracting authorities have not yet provided data on the purchases carried out," the President said.

During the meeting, representatives of the controlling authorities informed the President that, when assessing public procurement related to COVID-19, there were shortcomings in transparency, accountability and publicity of contracts. About 15 % of the purchases made in an emergency have not yet been made public.

It is also a matter of concern that as much as 92.03 % (EUR 54.8 million) in value terms of procurement of personal protective equipment and disinfectants was carried out through negotiated procedure without publication of a contract notice. Newcomers in public procurement accounted for around 41 % of the value of contracts concluded by enterprises registered in Lithuania. Three out of four public procurement newcomers concluded contracts with only one contracting authority.
“Non-negotiated public procurement restricts competition, increases the risk of non-transparent agreements and may lead to inefficient use of funds. First of all, we can control these risks by opening up procurement data to the public," the President said.

Participants of the discussion agreed that some of the public procurement problems would be solved by the centralisation of public procurement proposed by the President alongside with other amendments to the Law on Public Procurement. This would allow to avoid competition between contracting authorities that is harmful to the interests of the State.

During the meeting, as a separate problem was identified the fact that municipalities participating in COVID-19 measures do not disclose to the public information about the scope of support measures applied to economic entities operating in the territory of a municipality and the beneficiaries of the support.

The controlling authorities note that there is also a lack of transparency and publicity for decisions relating to the allocation of funds borrowed on behalf of the State to specific projects. There is an increasing number of decisions on important issues for the public, which are taken at Government meetings rather than at public sittings of the Government.

The President pointed out that controlling authorities should carry out a systematic assessment of how COVID-19 emergency management measures are financed and make recommendations on the transparent use of funds in the future.
The meeting with the President and his advisers was attended by the Director of the SIS Žydrūnas Bartkus, Deputy Director of the PPO Arūnas Siniauskas and Deputy Auditor General Živilė Simonaitytė.

Source: www.lrp.lt
Photo credit: Office of the President of the Republic of Lithuania (by Robertas Dačkus)

Responsible for the information Communication Division
Last updated on 7 September 2020

National Audit Office of Lithuania

Pamėnkalnio St 27, LT-01113 Vilnius, Phone: + 370 5 266 6793, + 370 5 266 6752, Email: nao@vkontrole.lt.