Roundtable with representatives from the media, civil society, and institutions – Transparency, Monitoring and Evaluation of Procurement of Central Purchasing Agency (CPA)

A round table was heldon 11.06.2019, with representatives from the media, civil society, and institutions. The purpose of this round table was:

  • to present the volume and dynamics of the institution’s work over the last 15 months;

  • analyze the context in which the institution was established;

  • assess the impact of the Agency on the efficiency and quality of Procurements and Contracts,

  • compare it with other models, and identify the need for interventions and further improvement

Moderators in the round table were experts in the legislation and institutional practices of procurement and contracting. They were: Muharrem Çakaj and Elton Lula, expert in procurement and appeals, former member of the Public Procurement Commission.

In addition to journalists and civil society representatives, participants included also representatives from the Ministry of Finances and the High State Audit.

The well-structured database of procurements made by the Public Procurement Agency by their volume and characteristics was presented at the round table. Thus:

  • During this period of 15 months, the system has announced the signing of 293 contracts, which are worth a fund limit of 6 347 790 714 Albanian lekëhttp://openprocurement.al/sq/agency/list (no more than 20 contracts per month).

  • These 293 contracts include 12 contract by a value of more than 100 million Albanian lekë each http://openprocurement.al/sq/agency/list/limit_fond/100%20infinit?

  • The highest-value tender is the one for purchasing Uniforms for the State Police and complementary accessories, reaching the fund limit of limit 908 973 900 Albanian lekë, announced on August 10th, 2018. This tender is cancelled, because none of the submitted bids met the tender criteria. http://openprocurement.al/sq/agency/view/id/30

  • The total number of cancelled tenders is 37, including 3 of a fund limit exceeding 100 million Albanian lekë. Two of those tender procedures were cancelled after a winner was announced http://openprocurement.al/sq/agency/list/status_id/4?

  • 23 tenders were conducted with one competitor only http://openprocurement.al/sq/agency/list/bidder_no/1?

  • So far, the Central Purchasing Agency conducts tenders for 81 state institutions, including the Director of State Police, Customs, Prisons, Health Institutions, etc.

  • The RedFlag instrument has automatically marked so far 65 tenders by red flags, including 8 that exceed the value of 100 million Albanian lekë each (from 12 contracts in total) http://openprocurement.al/sq/agency/redflag and 33 of 5 up to 100 million Albanian lekë each.

Upon conclusion, the round table participants identified the need for better regulating the process of selection of the Agency employees and their status; the needs for completing the secondary legislation needed for the institution, as well as the need for increasing the number of Government institutions delegating their procurement powers to the Agency. One of the most voiced needs was the one for improving and strengthening the role of watchdog stakeholders in monitoring public contracting.

Transparencë, Monitorim dhe Vlerësim për Prokurimet e Agjencisë së Blerjeve të Përqëdnruara

Transparencë, Monitorim dhe Vlerësim për Prokurimet e Agjencisë së Blerjeve të Përqëdnruara

Transparencë, Monitorim dhe Vlerësim për Prokurimet e Agjencisë së Blerjeve të Përqëdnruara

Transparencë, Monitorim dhe Vlerësim për Prokurimet e Agjencisë së Blerjeve të Përqëdnruara

Transparencë, Monitorim dhe Vlerësim për Prokurimet e Agjencisë së Blerjeve të Përqëdnruara

Transparencë, Monitorim dhe Vlerësim për Prokurimet e Agjencisë së Blerjeve të Përqëdnruara

Transparencë, Monitorim dhe Vlerësim për Prokurimet e Agjencisë së Blerjeve të Përqëdnruara

 

Central Purchasing Agency Roundtable Presentation PDF

Transparency, Monitoring, and Evaluation of the Central Purchasing Agency tenders

The Central Purchasing Agency is a state institution established in 2018 in order to concentrate the purchasing of goods and services for ministries and their subordinate institutions. The Albanian Government created this institution to increase efficiency and to better counter corruption in the use of public money for actual expenses. AIS has established a monitoring and assessment instrument regarding risk of favoritism and clientelism in these tenders. From February 2018 until May 2019, the Agency has procured 293 contracts in total, including 65 that lacked competition. AIS finds delays with the publication of contract signing or lack of publication of documents related with the monitoring of the execution of contracts in its database for transparent procurement. The Agency will continue to be monitored for its two first years of operation.

Risk Assessment Redflag: 18% of the 2018 Municipality Tenders are exposed to risk of corruption. Here is the list.

Tenders without competition, direct negotiations, or tenders with only one economic operator competing, involve a high risk of irregularities and misuse of public contracts and funds. Through its Transparent Procurement Program, AIS has found that 18% of the total number of tenders carried out by municipalities involve at least one risk in this process. The assessment is made using RedFlag algorithm as an anti-corruption instrument. Municipalities and their subordinate institutions announced calls for tenders from January 1st to December 31st 2018 for 5642 contracts that were worth 21.9 billion Albanian lekë. The Redflag assessment system, on the other hand, marked 997 contracts by red flags for this period, i.e. 18% of the total. The Database for Municipality Transparent Procurement offers opportunities to monitor and assess every tender conducted by Municipalities for their first term in office, i.e. 2015-2019.

Europe Day in Tirana, the kursori.org, a learning Platform for Youth Employability in Albania and Kosova, was presented.

The kursori.org Platform was presented in the framework of May the 9th, Europe Day in TiranaThis instrument in the Albanian language is developed as part of a project implemented by ODK and AIS on Open ICT Education for Youth Employability. The project offers free vocational training courses on Information Technology to “Kolin Gjoka” Vocational School in Lezha, “At Shtjefën Gjecovi” High School in Laç, “At Shtjefën Kurti” High School in Gorre, “Arif Halil Sula” High School in Mamurras, Miloti High School and two Universities “Ukshin Hoti” in Prizren, and “Haxhi Zeka” in Peja. ICT skills represent very good opportunities for employment in the European market without having to immigrate. The project is supported by the EU Delegation as a cross-border IPA Project for Albania-Kosovo. The Head of the EU Delegation in Albania, Ambassador Soreca, joint the promotion of the kursori.org and its activities benefitting youth vocational and economic development.

DataThon Albania 2018 “How does my municipality spend my tax money?” held in Voskopoja

On November 1st and 2nd, 2018, AIS with the support of Lëviz Albania, held DataThon Albania in Voskopoja. DataThon is a marathon event, where journalists and activists were invited to work together to investigate, visualize, and analyze facts based on data collection and usage. This year’s edition theme was “How does my municipality spend my tax money?”

The DataThon was held for two days, 1st dhe 2nd of November. The journalists were divided into groups to find, analyze, visualize, and explain through simple facts, the process of budgeting, procurement, and other processes related with how municipalities spend the public money.

Journalists were asked to come up with an idea, work in their groups, visualizing and explaining processes related to Municipality spending and budgeting. The suggestion was to use the data available in databases like Open Procurement Albania; Open Corporates Albania; Spending Data Albania; portal for Local Finances , etc. Participants were selected through online applications on AIS website.

During the two working days, seven groups of journalists were created, of which five managed to successfully finalize a specific analysis and presentation. The event aimed at familiarizing journalists with the open data; introducing available instruments; promoting the culture of co-operation and exchange of experience and creativity. Awards were given to the best teams selected by participants’ vote.

Some of the presentations were also published on the Local Portal platform.

Some of the topics suggested by the participants included:

  • How much does a municipality spend on services? Are there enough investments in green parks, roads, and infrastructure?
  • Which are the municipalities that have not received any projects from the Regional Development Fund? What are the projects this development fund has funded and have they had the right impact?
  • Municipality Performance in tax collection? What is the revenue tax per capita? What about the expenditure per capita?
  • Investigate one of the RedFlag tenders! What is there behind a procedure lacking competition beyond the marks made by the system?
  • Business companies awarded tenders through direct negotiation and without any competition only?
  • Business companies awarded more than 30% of the value of the tenders for a certain municipality?
  • Contractors involved in conflict of interest????
  • Business companies providing it all, i.e. goods, services, and investments. Can they really do it all, or are they simply the favorite ones in procurement???
  • Participatory budgeting? Demand for infrastructure, but money spent on services?! Unfair allocation of budget.
  • How does my Mayor get rich? Are there mayors benefitting directly or indirectly from the Municipality investments???
  • Any other topics you would like to propose.

 

 

 

Youth in Kurbin and Lezhe benefit from cross-border IPA projects for Albania –Kosovo.

  • Youth in Kurbin and Lezhe benefit from cross-border IPA projects for Albania –Kosovo.
  •  Vocational Training on IT, Kurbin ad Lezha get support from EU programmes
  •  Employment without immigration, ICT a potential sector for online jobs

 

Open Data Kosova and AIS donated 18 computers to five schools in Kurbin and Lezha this week.  These computers were made available to the schools as part of the Open ICT Education for Youth Project, a cross-border project funded by EU IPA funds. the beneficiaries in Albania include the vocational public secondary school “Kolin Gjoka” and four public secondary schools in the territory of the municipality of Kurbin, i.e. Laci, Gorre, Milot, and Mamurras schools. Representatives from the management of the education office of Kurbin and the vocational schools of “Kolin Gjoka” in Lezha attended the donation ceremony. The project representatives handing over the donation were Dafina Olluri as the representative of ODK, and Besyana Hysa, representative of  AIS.

 

The project aims at increasing youth vocational skills in Albania and Kosovo in the ICT sector. ODK and AIS have created a platform in the Albanian language, called Kursori. The platform offers free online courses and training for local young people .

 

The technology sector is the biggest employer in the EU and the region. Employment in this sector involves decent salaries and jobs can be done online, with the young people having no need to immigrate. IT knowledge and skills guarantee safe and decent employment. ICT skills are also necessary for professionals in sectors like tourism, services, trade, and industry. The project in Albania focused in Lezha and Kurbin, given the concentration of population   in this area, the need for better use of resources, and the human and natural potential that the area offers. Kurbin and Lezha are two municipalities that, thanks to their geographic position and potential for tourism, offer convincing opportunities for co-operation and exchange with Kosovo. The project aims at enabling 500 young people from these five schools to complete at least one of the online training programmes on the Kursori platform. This empowers them in the labour market. The project shall be completed by March 2020. The students of the beneficiary schools shall be assisted during online training even by technical instructors from the Project. The platform is open to everyone. In addition to training, the young students will also be able to benefit from joint events and exchanges with the computer science students from “Ukshin Hoti” University,  and students from the Business Faculty of “Haxhi Zeka” University in Peja.

Foto Gallery

AIS opposes the Anti-Defamation Legal Package: No Censorship without a Decision by the Civil Court

During January, AIS publicly opposed two draft laws proposed by the Albanian Government, as part of the Anti-Defamation legal package. The amendments proposed in the Law of Audio-Visual Media and Law for Electronic Communication, foresee that the enclosure and total censorship of portals registered in the Albanian and foreign virtual space can be ordered by non-court administrative institutions. AIS has prepared a report with its objections and proposals for the anti-defamation legal package. It has also participated in several round tables organised by the Government and non-governmental institutions and joined other organisations’ standing against this package, to defend the freedom of expression and human rights.

ALSAI with an innovative tool, Data Mining software solutions useful for Transparency and Anti-Corruption

The Albanian Supreme Audit Institution (ALSAI) already disposes an innovative instrument, useful and transparent to highlight and present in a well-structured way the institution’s impact in the media and public. The data mining software solutions are considered an ICT innovation. Only in the last decade, these solutions have been applied initially by businesses, while nowdays from the Public Sector as well. ALSAI is the first Albanian institution that applies this software solution to detect, structure and catalogue media articles and technical publications related to the institutions’ results and impact. This instrument has been developed by AIS in the framework of “Transparency in Health Engagement” USAID Project. The data mining tool has been finalised in November 2018 as an instrument useful to transparency and anti-corruption.

Management of State-Owned Corporates during electoral periods, AIS starts monitoring this process for 2019 Elections

In the country, there are 220 companies owned by public institutions, municipalities or ministries. Their management and performance is of high importance, considering they are public assets, subsidized by public money and offer necessary utilities. In the 2017 elections, a considerable number of cases of electoral influence were reported involving state-owned companies’ assets. AIS has started working on the implementation of the “Monitoring Abuse of Public Funds by State-Owned Companies during Electoral Periods” project. The project consists of election oversight on monitoring abuse of state resources, and is supported by the USAID program, “Accelerated Civic Development and Cooperation”. The goal of this project is to educate and empower citizens through information and transparency about state-owned companies’ potential abuse (misuse) of their money, assets and human resources during 2019 Elections.

AIS on the Media: The News Edition on a National TV, Top Channel reported on a Complaint made by AIS against Albania in the European Court of Human Rights.

The News Edition on a National TV, Top Channel, reported on 3 January 2019 on a Complaint made by a Non-Governmental Organization against Albania in the European Court of Human Rights. The Constitutional Court and the High Court in Albania are affected by the Vetting and are therefore not functioning. As a result, dozens of cases are left pending. The Organizations AIS has a legal recourse pending with the High Court. On such basis, the organization addressed the European Court of Human Rights claiming that Albania is violating article 6 of the Convention and human rights to trial in a reasonable time. The European Court is asked to adjudicate the merits of the case as long as it is not yet known when the High Court in Albania will resume its work

To see the TV chronic click here and for the English translation of the Interview click here.