Policy Study: Public e-procurement at the local level in Albania and Challenges in the fight against corruption, October 2014

UntitledEma has the pleasure to introduce with the policy brief prepared in the frame of the TRAIN Programme 2014 (Think Tanks Providing Research and Advice through Interaction and Networking), which is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office (Stability Pact for South East Europe) and implemented by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)

The guarantee of the rule of law remains one of the key criteria for Albanian accession to the European Union. One of the hallmarks of a society governed by rule of law is the fight against corruption and the increase of transparency.  Transparency is an important principle of the EU’s legal framework, and it is the common understanding that a public procurement regulation based on transparency prevents corruption.

To overcome the lack of accountability and transparency in public procurement, Albania became one of the first countries in the world to introduce in 2009 a fully electronic procurement system for all public sector tenders above the threshold of 3,500 Euro

  1. Compared to paper-based procurement, the e-procurement system has contributed to good governance, deflecting corruption, increasing transparency, reducing costs, and saving time. The process of European integration implies the effective implementation of electronic public procurement and indicators of success. According to the 2013 Progress Report for Albania, “public procurement and concessions are still one of the main sectors in which the audit institution has found financial violations. The audit institution reported in March 2013 that violations by both central and local authorities regarding public procurement for the period 2008-2011 caused damage to the state of €3.1 million”.
  2. The latest Progress Report released in October 2014, following the European Commission statement that “the e-procurement system functioned well and the number of users increased five times in 2013”, addresses “the need for substantial work to increase transparency in public procurement procedures, in order to reduce corruption risks and improve competition.”
  3. Through (i) Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement, (ii) Directive 2014/23/EU 4on the award of concession contracts, published on March 28, 2014, the European Commission has emphasized that from the new public procurement reforms, the local authorities  will be the first to benefit.  As part of the enlargement process, candidate countries 5 have to harmonize their legislation with the requirements of EU law, including Public Procurement Directives.  This would bring the public procurement system of candidate countries in line with the standards of member states, by incorporating clear and transparent public procurement legislation, efficient e -procurement implementation and competent contracting authorities.  Hence, Albania needs to make further progress to align e-public procurement with the EU acquis and continue to reduce the non-competitive and non-transparent procedures

Public e-procurement at the local level in Albania and challenges in the fight against corruption