24 November 2008
Turkey has only made partial progress in reforms to public procurement that are necessary for it to join the European Union.
A report by the European Commission said there had only been "limited progress" in the past 12 months on both general EU principles of procurement and in the award of public contracts, which still favour domestic bidders. The country has also made little improvement in dealing with complaints from bidders, which rose from 900 in 2003 to more than 4,000 in 2007 - around 3 per cent of contracts awarded.
However, the two other candidates for EU membership, Croatia and Macedonia, received far more positive reports.
New Macedonian legislation on the awarding of public contracts was commended, as well as the development and pro-active approach of the country's Public Procurement Bureau. The Commission said the country needed to keep up its current efforts on training of new procurement rules.
Croatia also introduced a new public procurement act at the start of the year, but knowledge of legislation remains to be developed among buyers.
Drasko Jelavic, partner at consultancy CIRTUO, said awareness in Croatia was satisfactory and training was supporting buyers to comply with the law. However, he added it was wrongly presumed that adherence to the law would develop good purchasing practices in the country. "It is most likely that the practices and infrastructure in the public procurement will need to be developed from the scratch, which might require a new generation of purchasers and politicians with a different mindset."
"There are two ways to establish professional purchasing at all levels; firstly, by increasing the awareness of importance of purchasing function due to high impact on financial result and taxpayer value for money and secondly, through faster adoption of best practices from abroad especially from neighbouring countries, which are often several steps ahead in that process."