Roundtable Discussion on Public-Private Partnerships and Public Procurement
Roundtable Provides Expertise on Public Private Partnerships and Public Procurement
Transparency, international kind of standards and regulations and predictabilityin public procurement and public-private partnerships in Bulgaria were at focus during the AmCham roundtable on May 29, 2014.
The forum gathered the business and government with the aim to look for solutions for various problems in the field. Practical advice on public-private partnerships (PPPs) was given by foreign experts on how to successfully run a project, on one side, and on the other, how the private and public sectors can actively cooperateto achieve better results in the procurement process.
Peter Lithgow, president, AmCham and Diana Pazaitova, board member and co-chair of the Public Affairs Committee opened the forum by saying that all companies should have an equal access to public procurement. The chamber is actively involved in the debate on transparent public procurement through its two committees, namely the Public Procurement and EU Funding Advisory Committee,and the Public Affairs committee.
“The roundtable on public procurement and public-private partnerships that the chamber and the U.S. Embassy organize for a second year in a row, aims to continue the active dialogue with the government”, Peter Lithgow said.
It is due for the Bulgarian government to decide which sectors of the economy will be prioritized for public-private partnerships and to attract investors, said Elisaveta Simeonova, advisor to the deputy prime minister. Currently, the investments are limited to building technical and social infrastructure, which excludes big investment projects. In March the Government proposed to the Parliament to revoke the currently effective Public-Private Partnerships Act. The main motive then was that the Act is restrictive in nature and is not applied in practice more than year and a half when it came into force. In the words of Simeonova, if the Act is repealed, the State Ownership Act and the Municipal Ownership Act, as well as the Concessions Act and the Public Procurement Act will be applied.
Ana Mitkova, Head of Directorate Register and Monitoring of Public Procurement, Public Procurement Agency elaborated on the most sensitive areas in Bulgarian public procurement: transparency, upcoming new regulatory framework, challenges with regard to the transposition of EU legislation and EU funding, volume of the local market. Zlatina Ruseva-Savova, Co-Chair of the AmCham Public Procurement and EU Funding Advisory Committee moderated the discussion between the Government and business representatives.
A national strategy for public procurement until 2020 is being developed by the Government. The Public Procurement Agency has started drafting a brand new Public Procurement Act- less complicated and in accordance with the newly adopted by the European Parliamentpackage of three EU directives on public procurement: public sector, utilities and concessions, which entered into effect this April.
AmCham will also come up with a recommended policy position on the subject, which will be presented to the competent Parliamentary Committee and the Government.
There are burdensome procedures in the tendering process with various requirements that hamper the whole procurement process, said Mitkova. In her words the law is not flexible at all and this is the reason for the ongoing changes in it. At the same time, she mentioned a remark made by the European Commission that too many amendments in the law create obstacles for reaching sustainability and professional training of the Agency employees.
Annually public procurement deals for approximately BGN8 billion are executed in Bulgaria, according to Mitkova. 90% of all public announcements for contracting are completed with an e-signature. The goal is to build a national model for an overall electronic procurement assignment and to create an opportunity for transnational assignment as well.
Richard Norment, Independent Consultant, Former Executive Director of the National Council For Public-Private Partnerships talked about the seven keys to successful PPP-s, namely: project champion, statutory environment, organized structure, detailed business plan, clearly defined revenue stream, stakeholder support, picking up of a partner carefully.
The winning strategy includes a good leader of the project who ideally is a leading political figure and serves as an advocate of the PPP. As for the statutory environment, it is critical to attract the private sector on competitive basis and to make sure that the contract is valid and enforceable.
Among other advice was the one to pick carefully a PPP partner as it is a long-term relationship, to verify its experience and financial capability.
Gavin Hill, Partner, Deloitte Bulgaria elaborated on the successful PPP market factors, among them: legislative framework and political commitment, clear definition of PPP policy objectives, professional and dedicated PPP Centre, feasible pilot projects.
Boyan Ivanov, Associate, Dimitrov, Petrov & Co. Law Firm talked about e-procurement aspects in the 2014 EU Directives and the amended public procurement act.
In their closing remarks David Butts, Board Member, Co-chair of the AmCham Public Affairs Committee and David Hampson, Co-Chair of the AmCham Public Procurement and EU Funding Advisory Committee expressed hope this is the second annual event of AmCham and U.S. Embassy on the topic that will hopefully foster the business to Government dialogue.
AmCham thanks the supporters of the discussion: Congress Engineering, Deloitee, Dimitrov, Petrov&Co., and Geostroy.
Find attached the presentations:
Date(s) - 29/05/2014
7:30 am - 10:00 am
Hotel Novotel Sofia
Dear AmCham members,
We are delighted to invite you to the Roundtable Discussion “Public-Private Partnerships and Public Procurement: Policy Enhancements for More Business Opportunities” which will take place on Thursday, May 29, 2014, starting 09:30 at Novotel Hotel, Sofia.
High-level experts from public institutions and the business community will discuss recent developments in the area of public procurement and public-private partnerships, as well as will share their experience and best practices from Bulgaria and abroad.
AmCham honorable guest for the event is Mr. Richard Norment, former executive director of the U.S. National Council for Public-Private Partnerships.
Read more in the Agenda