“Since 2010, more than 3,000 civil servants for public procurement have gained certificates, though a process organized by the Public Procurement Office of Serbia”, emphasized Ozegovic at the conference called “Paradigm shift in public procurement: Value for money and increasing cost-effectiveness”.
He expressed his expectation that the EU Negotiation Chapter 5, which refers to public procurement, will be opened together with Chapters 23 and 24.
The USA Ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott pointed out that the lowest price in public procurement doesn't necessarily mean the best purchase, as the goods and services with the lowest purchase prices are often accompanied by significant expenses. He emphasized that public procurement is more efficient if it is made more transparent and less prone to corruption.
Corruption is the main problem of the entire region. A non-governmental organization from the USA has estimated that between 2004 and 2013, around USD 40 mil vanished in Serbia annually due to corruption. Bribes were given by 8% of the citizens of Serbia, shows UNDP research, which estimates that corruption makes public procurement more expensive by 25% around the world – explained Scott.
The World Bank Country manager for Serbia Tony Verheijen has said that Serbia made great strides last year regarding strategic documents – the public procurement strategy and the new law on public procurement.
We are very pleased that the procedures in Serbia resemble ours in the WB. This year, we will finally adopt a new framework, which Serbia will be able to use – stated Verheijen and added that, at the beginning of the year, the World Bank had given to Serbia an aid program of USD 75 mil for the optimization of public administration.
The program has three goals: to reduce the length of procedures, to increase the scope of public procurement, and to increase the number of civil servants with certificates in the area of public procurement.