(PLO)- Up to 58.9% of enterprises said that paying unofficial costs when participating in bidding is an “unwritten law” when participating in bidding.
In addition to principles such as competition, fairness, transparency and high economic efficiency, public procurement must also add an important and even top priority, which is “safety”.
That’s the remarkable opinion of a leader of the National Drug Procurement Center at a conference of VCCI to announce a report on public procurement from the perspective of enterprises (DN) that has just taken place. This leader also considers himself lucky to still be able to stand here and speak, and said that in the past time, he has constantly received messages from acquaintances asking about “what’s wrong!?”.
Viet A Company spends “commission” 800 billion dong for many people
Safety is of course important in the context of many health sector leaders and civil servants being arrested for their involvement in the procurement of medical equipment. There are many reasons, but a fairly common cause is not complying properly, violating regulations on bidding and procurement, and the situation of paying “commissions” when purchasing public investment is quite common.
A survey report of 1,170 enterprises in the country that conducts public procurement bidding by VCCI recently revealed that about 34.4% of enterprises said that they are willing to pay extra costs to increase the likelihood of winning the contract.
The percentage of enterprises willing to pay extra-legal costs to ensure the winning bid has a close relationship with the openness of the form of contractor selection and bidding packages that enterprises participate in. For the form of contractor selection with a limited number of contractors such as limited bidding or appointment of contractors, the percentage of enterprises that are willing to pay “commission” to be on the list of contractors as well as to increase the probability of winning the bid is higher. While with the form of open bidding, the percentage of businesses willing to pay “commission” is lower, because this type of competition is competitive and does not limit the participation of contractors.
The survey in 2021 showed that 25.5% of enterprises said that they actively pay unofficial costs when participating in bidding, about 10.3% of enterprises said that it was suggested by the staff in charge of bidding of the bid solicitor and the investor. Notably, up to 58.9% of enterprises said that paying unofficial costs when participating in bidding is an “unwritten law” that enterprises must understand themselves when participating in bidding.
Because it is an “unwritten law”, which is common, when a few recent cases are being investigated such as the Viet A case, we see the payment and receipt of “commissions” when purchasing test kits and chemicals and medical equipment taking place in many provinces / cities, even in the context of extremely stressful epidemics.
This situation certainly has problems from the legal system, there are still many loopholes for stakeholders to exploit, there are not enough mechanisms to supervise the procurement and bidding, the receipt and handling of petitions and complaints during the bidding process is still inappropriate…
To overcome this situation, it is necessary to quickly amend the Law on Bidding in the direction of improving publicity and transparency in public procurement activities. Specifically, through increasing the use of public bidding, publicizing contractor selection results and contracts, combined with the maximum and optimal use of information technology (public procurement network system, e-procurement network) in bidding organization and management activities.
At the same time, it is necessary to strengthen the supervision of public procurement through inspection, examination and audit activities for both bidding units, enterprises and state management agencies in charge of bidding. The authorities need to pay attention to the quality of solving problems and proposals of enterprises participating in the bidding through setting up independent mechanisms for resolving complaints.
Having all of the above may not be enough. A bidding expert said at the VCCI conference that in bidding, in addition to strict, clear, open, transparent rules and regulations, an extremely important factor is the ethics of the implementers. How in the entire process of public procurement, the relevant officials and civil servants must always ask themselves whether I have met and complied with the highest ethical standards?! The same is related to standards, the process of selecting and monitoring people, which is also an extremely important factor.
DUC ANH TUAN