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Moldova

Increase public procurement transparency (MD0061)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Moldova National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Finance and the Public Procurement Agency

Support Institution(s): State Chancellery (E-Government Center); Central Public Administration Authorities

Policy Areas

E-Government, Open Contracting and Procurement, Open Data, Private Sector

IRM Review

IRM Report: Moldova Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

1.1. Migrate more public domain data from the private area of the e-Procurement system to the public area, according to the list of public data fields, and ensure their availability in an automated way through the API (Application Programming Interface)
1.2. Piloting publication of information on public procurement planning and contract implementation, linking information from the planning and implementation phase to information on the other stages of the procurement process
1.3. Develop and implement an electronic procurement transactional system based on the principles of the open contracting standard, with the ability to collect and publish information at all stages of the procurement process
1.4. Extending the list of contracting authorities bound to initiate all procurement procedures through the electronic system
Responsible institution: Ministry of Finance and the Public Procurement Agency
Supporting institution(s): State Chancellery (E-Government Center); Central Public Administration Authorities
Start date: December 2016 End date: 2nd quarter 2018

IRM Midterm Status Summary

1a. Increase public procurement transparency

Commitment Text:

Title: Increased Transparency of Public Procurement

1.1. Migrate more public domain data from the private area of ​​the e-Procurement system to the public area, according to the list of public data fields, and ensure their availability in an automated way through the API (Application Programming Interface)

1.2. Piloting publication of information on public procurement planning and contract implementation, linking information from the planning and implementation phase to information on the other stages of the procurement process

1.3. Develop and implement an electronic procurement transactional system based on the principles of the open contracting standard, with the ability to collect and publish information at all stages of the procurement process

1.4. Extending the list of contracting authorities bound to initiate all procurement procedures through the electronic system

Responsible institution: Ministry of Finance and the Public Procurement Agency

Supporting institution(s): State Chancellery (E-Government Center); Central Public Administration Authorities

Start date: December 2016 End date: 2nd quarter 2018

Editorial Note: For the purpose of the IRM report, commitment one was broken up into two separate commitments (see details in the General Overview of Commitments section).

Context and Objectives

In May 2016, a new law on Public Procurement entered into force. The law transposed the 2004 EU Directive on the coordination of procedures for the award of public works, public supply, and public service contracts, and partially transposed two more EU Directives from 2014 into national law.[Note87: Transparent Public Procurement Rating, Moldova, https://www.tpp-rating.org/page/eng/country/moldova] Despite these legal changes, however, the new law did not improve the transparency framework of the public procurement system: procuring entities are still not required to publish or provide full access to all procurement documents.[Note88: TPPR Implementation Assessment, https://www.tpp-rating.org/public/uploads/data/7/AOIL/5914b9f9b886fPPL_Implementation-Assessment-Moldova.pdf] According to the results of a 2015-2017 monitoring activity conducted by the NGO IDIS Viitorul, the level of public procurement transparency was low for the majority of the 60 local communities and 32 districts monitored.[Note89: http://localtransparency.viitorul.org/]

The four activities outlined in this commitment were originally foreseen in the context of the Public Procurement System Development Strategy 2016–2022[Note90: The law, http://lex.justice.md/md/368482/], and subsequently included in the OGP action plan. The first commitment activity will continue the ongoing migration of private data (or data with limited access), located in the Public Procurement State Registry (SIA RSAP), the existing e-Procurement system, and ensure their availability through an Application Programming Interface (API).

SIA RSAP was launched in 2012 and includes a public field component which provides limited, general information on public procurement.[Note91: State Registry of Public Acquisitions, http://etender.gov.md/index] As stated in the commitment text, however, the difference between private and public areas of data is not clear. After clarifying with the implementing agencies, the IRM researcher understands that the private field (where the actual public procurement process takes place)[Note92: SIA RSAP Manual https://tender.gov.md/sites/default/files/document/attachments/Manualul%20Utilizatorului%20SIA%20RSAP%20%28partea%20I%29%20v4.0.pdf] is accessible to users of the system (registered users, who use the digital signature for authentication), and it also contains data which cannot be disclosed, according to the Law on private data protection.[Note93: The law, http://lex.justice.md/md/340495/] The data will be made publicly available on opencontracting.date.gov.md.[Note94: The open contracting webpage was developed by the Public Procurement Agency (PPA) in partnership with the E-Government Center and the World Bank. The website features various functionalities which allow export of data in open data format. Data users can explore, monitor, download and re-use data published on this website which covers government related contracting data collected by the PPA. The website is constantly updated with public procurement information.]

Second, the government aims to publish information on public procurement planning and contract implementation, based on open contracting standards[Note95: Open Contracting Data Standard, http://standard.open-contracting.org/latest/en/], and link the information to different stages of the public procurement process. Though not explicitly stated in the action plan, it is understood by the IRM researcher (after performing additional desk research and interviews) that the information will be published in the e-procurement system, Mtender (see commitment activity 1.3 below).

Third, the government aims to continue to develop and implement MTender,[Note96: The financial support for Mtender is provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the European Union. In September 2017 the Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF) also joined the efforts, http://mf.gov.md/ro/content/ministerul-finan%C8%9Belor-va-beneficia-de-un-instrument-electronic-pentru-analiza-%C8%99i] an electronic procurement transactional system, which will collect and publish data from all stages of the procurement process. The bill on the concept of the system was submitted for public consultations on the particip.gov.md, the governmental public consultations online platform, on 18 December 2017.[Note97: Government public consultations platform, http://particip.gov.md/proiectview.php?l=ro&idd=4825] Mtender is a cloud-based multi-platform (which includes three commercial platform operators[Note98: E-licitatie, achizitii private si publice, yptender.md]) electronic procurement system, which uses open source software. The system employs the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS[Note99: Open Contracting Data Standard, http://standard.open-contracting.org/latest/en/]) and includes an open source/OCDS Central Database Unit, the website http:/mtender.gov.md, and three authorized electronic procurement platforms owned by private companies. The Central Database Unit of the MTender System will be owned by the Ministry of Finance.[Note100: Mtender, https://mtender.gov.md/procuring/index]

Fourth, the government plans to extend the application of the MTender system to at least 85 percent of contracting authorities (public authorities). However, it is not clear how a country-wide expansion will take place and by which date.

The overall specificity for this commitment is medium. While not stated explicitly in the action plan text, the activities in this commitment (and Commitment 1b) are referring to the same overall process and its relevance to MTender is understood among relevant stakeholders. However, there are ambiguities in the commitment text that the IRM researcher was unable to gather more information on. For example, it is not clear if the API system from commitment activity 1.1 (the system used for SIA RSAP) will be integrated or linked to the new Mtender system.

The commitment is relevant to OGP values of access to information and technology and innovation. By launching a transactional e-procurement system (MTender), which opens all procurement stages (planning, tender, contracting, implementation) to the public, and by ensuring the use of the system by all public authorities, the public procurement process will be more transparent and efficient at all stages.

If fully implemented, the potential impact of this commitment is moderate. Compared to the pre-existing system, developing and implementing Mtender could significantly contribute to the sustainable accountability of public authorities and bidders. Furthermore, extending the use of this system to a majority of the contracting authorities represents a major step forward in making public procurement more transparent. However, the ambiguity in the action plan makes it difficult to assess the potential impact of the other listed activities.

Furthermore, civil society representatives[Note101: Idis Viitorul Think Tank, Expert Grup NGO, European Business Association.] interviewed by the IRM researcher consider that this is an overly optimistic plan for the action plan timeline: many activities (including legislative changes) linked to the launching of the system are still ongoing (Spring 2018), and the scale of the activity may not be realistic given the action plan timeframe.

Completion

Due to the late approval of the action plan (Government Decision of 28 December 2016, no. 1432), most actions in this commitment were delayed. Delays are largely caused by cross-cutting issues, such as frequent staff turnover across the government and understaffed departments, which has impacted institutional memory, but also related to the complexity of the legislative, technical and implementation aspects of the MTender system. Overall, this commitment’s completion is limited.

Data from the PPA’s current e-procurement system (also from the private module) were migrated to opencontracting.md, where the information on tenders, contracts, and the contracting authorities are provided in a more visually appealing and user-friendly way (1.1). The completion of the commitment activity was assessed based on the time stamp of the published data on the respective website. Since this is an ongoing activity, however, it is difficult to gauge how much of the data was migrated before and after the implementation of this action plan.

There is limited information regarding the pilot publication of public procurement information. According to the Official Gazette[Note102: Fiscal Monitor, https://monitorul.fisc.md/editorial/mtender--un-nou-nivel-al-achiziiilor-publice-in-republica-moldova.html] and the Ministry of Finance, the piloting[Note103: Piloting the system means that these institutions use the MTender system for all stages of the public procurement process: notification, tender, assigning of contracts, etc.] of the MTender system started in January 2017 (1.3). The government bodies piloting the system include the Ministry of Finance, Public Procurement Agency, State Tax Authority, Customs Service, Financial Inspection. As the legal framework, which will make the MTender mandatory for all public authorities, still has to be developed and implemented, participation is currently (2017 - beginning of 2018) voluntary. In May 2017, the Ministry of Finance encouraged public authorities to pilot MTender[Note104: Mtender pilot, https://mtender.gov.md/uploads/news/files/590ad5744364f.pdf] and, according to the MTender statistics,[Note105: Mtender, Leading by example, https://mtender.gov.md/] 148 public and private entities have to date (April 2018) piloted the system. No other concrete actions are known to have been taken so far to extend the use of the system to all public authorities (activity 1.4).

During regular information sessions organized by the PPA, the participating public authorities were informed about the new system which will be launched (see more details on the dissemination of information in the assessment of the next commitments’ activities, which are linked to these ones). At the time of writing (December 2017–January 2018), negotiations to secure financial support from the European Union to continue the development and implementation of the system were ongoing. However, since the MTender system is planned as a mixed system (the Central Data Unit of the MTender System is owned by the Ministry of Finance, and the three procurement platforms of the system are owned by private companies), IDIS Viitorul[Note106: Carolina Ungureanu, IDIS Viitorul expert, telephone discussion, June 2018] shared that European Commission experts fear such a system could be too risky. The launch of the MTender system is planned for 2018.[Note107: Fiscal Monintor, https://monitorul.fisc.md/editorial/mtender--un-nou-nivel-al-achiziiilor-publice-in-republica-moldova.html] The fourth commitment activity cannot begin until MTender is launched.

The PPA and the e-Government Center, two of the three implementing agencies indicated in the action plan, stated that they are not aware of the implementation status.

Early Results (if any)

According to stakeholder interviews and independent verification, data presented on the PPA website and opencontracting.md are visually appealing, allowing journalists, researchers and experts to generate different types of data by employing filters and visual aids (commitment activity 1.1). However, according to I. Morcotilo of Expert Group NGO[Note108: Newspaper Ziarul de Garda newsroom group discussion, 27 December 2017; I. Morcotilo (Expert Grup NGO), personal communication, 21 December 2017.] filters on the website are difficult to operate. The expert considers that data manipulation is not very user-friendly and has also confirmed that many public procurement processes are often missing from the website or are published late.

Next Steps

The commitment should be continued in the remaining period of the implementation cycle. Moving forward, the IRM researcher recommends this commitment be carried forward into the next action plan; however, the government needs to clearly identify what it plans to accomplish and clarify which agencies are responsible for implementation. Other recommended modifications include:

· Ensuring better monitoring of the public procurement open data quality.

· Launching of outreach program to engage with working group stakeholders as well as stakeholders who signed the Memorandum[Note109: This memorandum was signed on 30 November 2016 by the Ministry of Finance, the Public Procurement Agency, the E-Government Center, five NGOs, six business associations, and four companies securing the maintenance and management of Mtender, http://mf.gov.md/ro/content/achizi%C8%9Bii-publice.] in November 2016. Ensuring effective communication among stakeholders will facilitate the completion of the commitment activity through constant monitoring of the progress, and by ensuring all stakeholder views are taken into consideration.

· Developing extension and transition plans for all central, regional and local authorities, involving contracting entities, and independent national and international experts in the field. The plans should not include only activities focusing on the technical aspects of the new e-system, but also open government principles and values to secure a genuine transfer to a transparent public procurement activity, and avoid achieving only the digitalization of the process.

· Ensuring potential bidders (private sector) are educated and well-informed about the new system, cooperating in this sense with business associations and expert NGOs in this field.


Moldova's Commitments

  1. access to information and open data

    MD0069, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. budget transparency and public procurement

    MD0070, 2018, E-Government

  3. civil society collaboration

    MD0071, 2018, E-Government

  4. diaspora participation

    MD0072, 2018, E-Government

  5. accountability mechanism

    MD0073, 2018, Audits and Controls

  6. public service delivery

    MD0074, 2018, Capacity Building

  7. Increase public procurement transparency

    MD0061, 2016, E-Government

  8. Increase knowledge of public procurement process

    MD0062, 2016, Capacity Building

  9. Ensure budgetary transparency

    MD0063, 2016, E-Government

  10. Open data in education sector

    MD0064, 2016, E-Government

  11. Publish government-held open data

    MD0065, 2016, E-Government

  12. Participative policy-making process

    MD0066, 2016, E-Government

  13. Public sector evaluation

    MD0067, 2016, Public Participation

  14. Ensure quality of service delivery

    MD0068, 2016, Capacity Building

  15. Improving the government open data portal

    MD0048, 2014, E-Government

  16. Setting up an action plan for open data

    MD0049, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  17. Setting up guidelines for publishing open data.

    MD0050, 2014, Open Data

  18. Raising awareness among civil servants.

    MD0051, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  19. Civil Servant Training

    MD0052, 2014, Capacity Building

  20. Government email system

    MD0053, 2014, E-Government

  21. Auditing public websites

    MD0054, 2014, Audits and Controls

  22. Evaluating e-petition requirements.

    MD0055, 2014, E-Government

  23. Fostering transparency at the local level.

    MD0056, 2014, E-Government

  24. Improving communication at the local level.

    MD0057, 2014, E-Government

  25. Adopting new public consultations principles.

    MD0058, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  26. Training civil servants for improved communication

    MD0059, 2014, Capacity Building

  27. Improving online participation platform

    MD0060, 2014, E-Government

  28. Strengthening the enforcement of the regulation on transparency

    MD0001, 2012, E-Government

  29. Semestrial progress reports on transparency in decision making

    MD0002, 2012, E-Government

  30. Update the module "decision making transparency" on the websites of the central public authorities

    MD0003, 2012, E-Government

  31. Publish environmental open data on central public authorities websites

    MD0004, 2012, Environment and Climate

  32. Develop methodological guide

    MD0005, 2012, Environment and Climate

  33. Amendment Regulation

    MD0006, 2012, E-Government

  34. Mandatory use of government e-mail account electronic (gov.md)

    MD0007, 2012, E-Government

  35. Annual report on public sector information

    MD0008, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  36. Post information on draft policies and legislations on www.particip.gov.md

    MD0009, 2012, E-Government

  37. Development of an Online Petition Portal

    MD0010, 2012,

  38. Starred commitment Draft the Law on public sector information reuse

    MD0011, 2012, Right to Information

  39. Develop institutional regulations for collecting, archiving and publication of data in digital format in line with national standards

    MD0012, 2012,

  40. Developing the Public Procurement Application

    MD0013, 2012,

  41. Starred commitment Drafting the Government Decision on implementation of Law on public sector information reuse

    MD0014, 2012,

  42. Opening Priority Data

    MD0015, 2012,

  43. Publishing the Open Government Data Catalogue

    MD0016, 2012,

  44. Expanding government data portal (www.date.gov.md)

    MD0017, 2012, E-Government

  45. Mapping the location of public institutions

    MD0018, 2012, E-Government

  46. Develop applications to launch of the innovative applications development contest

    MD0019, 2012,

  47. Implementation of selected apps

    MD0020, 2012,

  48. Develop national standards for collecting, archiving and publication of data in digital format

    MD0021, 2012,

  49. Amend Law No. 1264- XV to make income and property declarations of senior officials, judges, prosecutors, and civil servants, public

    MD0022, 2012,

  50. Develop an online automated information system for public officials to file income statement

    MD0023, 2012,

  51. Develop guidelines for using social media in the public sector

    MD0024, 2012,

  52. Harmonize Public Relations and Communication Strategy with the guidelines on using social media

    MD0025, 2012, Capacity Building

  53. Government presence in social media

    MD0026, 2012, Capacity Building

  54. Social media in government training

    MD0027, 2012, Capacity Building

  55. Develop regulation

    MD0028, 2012,

  56. Publish documents

    MD0029, 2012, E-Government

  57. Publish projects, plans and budget proposals on websites of authorities

    MD0030, 2012,

  58. Starred commitment Publish real-time information on state budget execution

    MD0031, 2012,

  59. Update annual database on public spending (BOOST) and publish data for 2011

    MD0032, 2012,

  60. Publish online realtime income and expenditures of central public authorities

    MD0033, 2012,

  61. Opening up data and providing quarterly updates on external assistance

    MD0034, 2012,

  62. Create an internal integrated information system for collecting information on external assistance

    MD0035, 2012,

  63. Develop and launch an external web application to monitor flow of external assistance

    MD0036, 2012,

  64. Transparent Information on Public Procurement

    MD0037, 2012,

  65. Starred commitment Develop and launch the Electronic Information System

    MD0038, 2012,

  66. Establish a Procurement Agency Assistance Center

    MD0039, 2012,

  67. Train public offcials

    MD0040, 2012, Capacity Building

  68. Develop indicators and statistical methodology for transparency in e-procurement systems

    MD0041, 2012,

  69. Starred commitment Amend electronic procurement law

    MD0042, 2012,

  70. Draft and approve list of public services

    MD0043, 2012,

  71. Develop and implement quality standards

    MD0044, 2012,

  72. Digitize public service gradually

    MD0045, 2012,

  73. Starred commitment Human Resources Management System

    MD0046, 2012,

  74. Innovative IT Tools for Primary and Secondary Education System

    MD0047, 2012,