Costa Rica: Still Two Public Procurement Systems

Mer-Link and CompraRed are fighting each other, "as if they were two private companies seeking to address the issue of the Costa Rican state."

Monday, August 18, 2014

An article on Crhoy reports that "Deputies are asking the government to accelerate the transfer of purchases to the Mer-Link system ... Members of the Committee on Revenue and Public Expenditure yesterday received representatives from Digital Government and the Ministry of Finance, who are fighting over which is the best system to use for public procurement."

In Costa Rica two procurement systems have coexisted for several years, Comprared and Mer-Link, each promoted by different groups of officials and state institutions. The dispute over which should prevail and be used for all government purchases, appeared to have been settled by an executive order of the government of President Laura Chinchilla which ordered the use of Mer-Link "... a system and technology platform compulsory for all Central Administration for processing administrative procedures for recruitment and acts and contracts resulting therefrom. "

However, the new administration of President Luis Guillermo Solís is now apparently in doubt about which is the best system, and noted that there is a need to return to "discussing the issue".

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More on this topic

Public Procurements in Costa Rica: Cosmetic Changes

November 2015

The government has announced the "unification of public procurements" when the only modification from the previous situation is the change of name and the logo for "Mer-Link" to "SICOP", while keeping the CompraRed system in operation.


The officially announced "new Integrated System for Public Procurement (SICOP)" by the Solis administration is the exact same Mer-Link which has been used up until now.

Costa Rica: TWO Public Procurement Systems

July 2014

If transparency is to be achieved, there must be one single platform so that procurement processes can be fully digital and access to information fully transparent.


An article on reports that "... The head of Digital Government, Alicia Avendaño affirmed that there are concerns about the apparent lack of interest of current government institutions over migrating public procurements to the Mer-Link system, promoted by the previous government. "

Costa Rica Seeks to Unify State Purchases

April 2013

The struggle between the two main systems used for Costa Rican government purchases could end with Mer-Link being the winner.

From a press release issued by the President of Costa Rica:

In order to facilitate the establishment of a National System of Public Procurement, the president of the Republic, Laura Chinchilla Miranda, signed this morning a guideline for all the institutions which make up the Civil Service to unify their methods of procuring goods and services.

Unification of Government Procurement Systems

February 2013

In Costa Rica fifteen state institutions use different digital systems for the dissemination and management of purchasing goods and services.

The Costa Rican government is planning to unify state purchases by institutions under a single technology platform.

President Laura Chinchilla has formed a procurement committee that will define the steps required for using a single digital system for purchases by state institutions.