SARAJEVO – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Monday it is launching a technical cooperation programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with support from the UK government, to improve public procurement practices, reports SeeNews.
The project will enhance efficiency, improve transparency and promote competition in public procurement – crucial elements of a well-governed economy, the EBRD said in a statement.
The programme will focus on strengthening the institutional capacity of the Public Procurement Review Body of Bosnia and Herzegovina – an independent institution responsible for monitoring the application of the public procurement law, and guaranteeing the protection of tenderers’ rights.
Bosnia adopted a new law on public procurement in 2014, which is being implemented to comply with EU directives. In the same year, the EBRD signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government that focuses on improving the efficiency and transparency of public procurement with policy and legal advice, technical cooperation and capacity building.
The new project will include technical assistance to establish a faster and more efficient appeals process which is currently suffering from high volumes of complaints.
In addition, the project will pilot an IT solution to digitise the complaint mechanism, which should enable quicker and easier access to complaint cases, and faster and more efficient resolution while ensuring the protection of complainants’ rights through increased transparency.
“The UK government is investing millions of pounds each year in the future prosperity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We want to support much faster growth of business and the private sector, and much more efficiency and less corruption in the public sector. Public procurement is a well-known problem area,” UK ambassador Edward Ferguson, is quoted as saying. “Through this project we want to help address a big issue for potential investors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is the way that complaints about public procurements are handled,” he added.
The programme is part of the EBRD’s Investment Climate and Governance Initiative which aims to support reform-minded governments and its corporate clients to increase transparency, good governance and healthy competition in the countries where the bank invests.