While there is a battle in the world market for almost every vaccine, citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) have become hostages of laws and procedures due to political elites. Officially, the two laws inhibit the process of starting direct negotiations with vaccine manufacturers. However, these laws have not been an obstacle to the procurement of medical equipment worth tens of millions of marks since the start of the pandemic.
The authorities in BiH find an alibi in the Law on Public Procurement and the Law on Medicines and Medical Devices, due to which direct negotiations with vaccine manufacturers have not yet begun, BHRT writes.
“Since the decision on the state of natural disaster at the state level has not been canceled, it means that registration can be applied according to that shortened procedure. However, this procedure as such must be elaborated in detail in the rulebook on the issuance of movement authorizations for medicinal products, which the Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices has not yet done. The Agency is expected to implement the mentioned process, and they informed us that in that context, complete documentation will be needed, as required for regular registration,” said Snjezana Bodnaruk, from the Federal Ministry of Health.
Back in March last year, the Public Procurement Agency of BiH issued a statement with an accompanying interpretation of the Law on Public Procurement, which refers to public procurement necessary to prevent the spread and mitigate the consequences of coronavirus due to reasons and conditions of extreme urgency.
That is how the institutions in our country managed to import and buy medical equipment without implementing determined procedures, which means they used these benefits. The report of Transparency International (TI) shows that in the period from January 1st, 2020 to September 25th, 2020, 537 proceedings related to COVID-19 were realized through the exemption of the law. The value of these procedures is more than 67 million BAM.
“The argument was quite controversial, since the contracting authorities awarded contracts worth millions, with the explanation that someone had filed an appeal against the tender, so the contract must be awarded urgently through a negotiating procedure, ” Srdjan Traljic, from TI BiH said.
The report shows that in March, the first month of the pandemic outbreak, 147 proceedings worth 8.7 million BAM were realized. In April, 251 proceedings worth as much as 58.3 million BAM were realized. In other months, 139 proceedings worth 650.000 BAM were realized. Some of these public procurements are also under investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH.