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October 21, 2021

Competition Council: Bucharest City Hall must strongly ground works to own firms without tender

Bucharest City Hall (PMB) can grant works to its own firms without tenders, they must however ground them very well and the level of corresponding costs must be similar to the market prices, representatives of the Competition Council told AGERPRES.

They specified that the national legislation in public procurement and concessions of works and services which transposes the European directives in the matter provides for the possibility that under certain circumstances, the contracting authorities assign to their own firms the provision of certain services/products or the carrying out of certain works from own resources for their own use or for the communities they represent (the so-called domestic operation).

Consequently, before a public procurement/concession contract is assigned to the own operator, it is necessary that the authority, Bucharest’s City Hall respectively, verify the requirements prescribed by law.

At the same time, according to the provisions of the local public administrative law, “the Local and County Councils can decide on the participation with capital or assets, on behalf and interest of the local communities they represent, in the setting up, functioning and development of certain bodies providing public and local or county interest public utility services, under the law.”

Thus, the state can get involved in economic activities of public interest, provided the market cannot satisfy the identified need, respectively in economic activities in order to meet its needs (in the capacity of contracting authority) through its own firms, under specific legislation, the Competition Council’s answer further reads.

In reply, the representatives of the Romanian Construction Entrepreneurs’ Association (ARACO) say that “To a great extent, the allocations of works and the control of financial flows in constructions has remained hostage to the political milieu, which represent a serious matter. An issue that concerns us is related to the Bucharest City Hall’s and the CNAIR [National Road Infrastructure Administration Company – ed.n.]’s demarches of phasing certain construction activities. We cannot agree with the City Hall directly assigning works, from public funds, to the firms it has tried to set up for these services. We are going to take action in this respect, at the Competition Council and also the European Commission. We have had talks with ANAP [the National Public Procurement Authority, ed.n.]. We cannot prevent the City Hall from setting up as many companies as it wishes, but to should avoid the public procurement procedures for project allocation represents an abuse, it is a theme that can lead to an infringement procedure, because it can be read as a state aid that a company grants to certain companies, with a dedication. Or, we want that both the City Hall’s firms, no matter how many they are – tens, hundreds, but also firms that have specialised in constructions can participate in the tender procedures. We do not believe that private-capital firms can be discriminated against in the public funds competition,” the president of ARACO, Laurentiu Plosceanu told last Thursday a press conference.

The Capital’s City Hall announced in January this year, that the Metropolitan Buildings Trust SA is one of the 22 municipal companies and will be in charge with building dwellings for the youth, social buildings, student dorms, nursing homes, school extensions.

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