The Unusual Battle Between Purchasing Systems

The government of Costa Rica has still not been able to establish a single system for state purchases, while the battle continues between the individual interests of the supporters of each of the two systems currently in operation.

Monday, November 24, 2014


Roberto Sasso, in his opinion column in notes: "... the opportunity cost caused by this senseless struggle amounts to several percentage points of GDP."

The differences between the two systems outlined by Sasso, make it clear why there is widespread preference for the Mer-Link system, in evidence to the Finance Ministry, whose officials defend tooth and nail "their system", CompraRed.

- CompraRed does not even use a unique code for each product, but each product has many codes as there are different uses for it, meaning that there are officials who have the discretion and authority to create codes. Mer-Link, however, uses the product code of the United Nations.

¿Busca soluciones de inteligencia comercial para su empresa?

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: New System for State Purchases

January 2015

In a "Solomonic" decision, the Ministry of Finance has decided to settle the dispute between CompraRed and Merlink, ordering the development of a new platform, giving the moribund state telecom company RACSA something to do.


With the introduction of the yet to be developed Integrated Public Procurement System (SICOP by its initials in Spanish), an end could be given to the bitter struggle between different groups of state officials and private providers over "their" respective public procurement systems.

Lack of transparency in Digital Purchases?

February 2014

The Board of Directors of Consejo Nacional de Vialidad has not yet authorized the agency to use the electronic procurement system Mer -Link .

Although the National Roads Authority (Conavi) is now ready to use the electronic procurement system Mer -Link , the Board of Directors of the company has not granted permission, as they are still studying the contract.

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.