Public Purchases: YES, to Transparency

Costa Rican businessmen support efforts to avoid changes to the bill being discussed in the Legislative Assembly, which originally seeks to stop abuses in hiring directly by public entities.

Monday, October 21, 2019

The issue has become increasingly important in the country, as at the end of July the Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of Private Business Sector (UCCAEP) said in a statement that in direct contracts there is no guarantee that really is giving the best use to public funds, as there are indications of lack of transparency in contracts. Some of them have even been declared confidential.

The bill "Law to Combat Abusive Use" is currently being discussed in the Assembly. the original text of which seeks to stop abuses in direct contracting.

However, some days ago there were motions to the bill, which threaten the transparency of public contracting processes, in the opinion of some deputies.

From the CRECEX statement:

San José, October 21, 2019. The Chamber of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica and Representatives of Foreign Houses (CRECEX), supports Congressman Heriberto Abarca in his effort to avoid changes to law plan 21.014, which seeks to curb abuses in direct contracts between public entities.

The previous week there were motions to the bill "Law to Combat the Abusive Use of Administrative Contracts between Public Entities," centered on Article 2 of the Law, although the text was endorsed by the General Comptroller of the Republic (CGR).

According to Abarca, this article has been used by institutions to justify direct hiring using the exception mechanism.

For José Manuel Quirce, president of CRECEX, the Christian social deputy is right to express concern about the approved motion, which, according to the congressman, makes the exception the rule.

"Some deputies are trying to resume the discussion that had already been overcome in the Economic Commission, which reappears the risk of abuses in business between state companies, to the detriment of private enterprise, even leaving out the possibility of supervision of the Comptroller's Office," Quirce warned. For the president of the Chamber, it is necessary to apply best practices to guarantee transparency and fight against corruption, overpricing and other anomalies that end up affecting the public treasury.

Abarca has denounced that under this modality of exception, between 2016-2018, more than $420 million (some ¢250,000 million) were contracted, even applying outsourcing mechanisms in cases in which the public entity did not have the experience required by the contract obtained.

In his social networks, the congressman announced that he will reiterate a motion to return to the original version of the bill. The discussion will be resumed Tuesday in the Economic Committee.

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