Small business announced the main competition issues in public procurement

Photo: Valery sharifulin / TASS

Small business in the letter of the FAS told about the factors that restrict competition in public procurement. Entrepreneurs propose to deal with unscrupulous suppliers and excessive demands from the state-owned companies

Association “Support of Russia” has directed to Federal Antimonopoly service (FAS) the letter in which told about the main competition issues faced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in public procurement. The organization is proposing to consider these in the preparation of annual FAS report on the state of competition.

The FAS since July preparing strategic documents for Antimonopoly policy — the draft presidential decree “On main directions of the state anti-monopoly policy” and the draft National development plan competition in 2017-2018. The service intends to propose measures to reduce the share of government in the economy, work together with security agencies, tariff regulation, and the withdrawal of the state companies operating in competitive sectors. The need to develop competition in Russia said President Vladimir Putin in the message to the Federal Assembly. “The main reasons for the deceleration of the economy lie primarily in our domestic issues. First and foremost is the shortage of investment resources, modern technologies, professional staff, lack of competition, shortcomings in the business climate”, — said the President.

In a letter to the FAS “Support of Russia” pays special attention to competition issues in public procurement. In June 2016, the government adopted the strategy for SME development until 2030, one of the areas of the strategy — gradual increase of the mandatory quota for the purchase of subjects of small and average business. Under current rules, companies must pay 10% of orders for small and medium businesses on spectrah (procurement of up to 200 million rubles, that is, direct purchases from SMEs) and 18% of total orders. In 2018 the share of direct procurement will increase to 15% and up to 25% of the total.

Large state-owned corporations were opened to the public a list of procurement recognizes the letter “OPORA Russia”, it greatly simplified the search of contracts for entrepreneurs. But almost all large customers are required to pass a voluntary certification: the supplier shall prove the compliance of the customer. You can obtain a certificate in organization approved by the customer, and the cost of this service can reach up to 1.5 million rubles, follows from the document. “If the entrepreneur received a certificate of conformity from organizations accredited by the state, then it can sell its products to any interested party. But in the case of additional customer requirements to obtain the certificate <…>, the entrepreneur needs to pay and get a second certificate for the same products,” the letter reads. In fact, the owner pays each time if working with the customer, which has its own certification system, say entrepreneurs.

Often, the goods and services of state-owned companies impose unreasonable requirements, the certification process is deliberately delaying in the interests of other organizations, says the “Support of Russia”. “Given the nature of the goods supplied to it by small and medium entrepreneurs, it is worth noting that often the subject of the procurement does not require a “special” certification procedures”, — the document says. The certificate can afford not every company, and sometimes this requirement is contrary to common sense, agrees the head of the support center bidding SKB Kontur Stanislav Shilyaev. “Excessive requirements to the supplier, expensive certificates these scripts allow you to restrict the circle of bidders, to use corruption schemes,” he explains. The Union encourages SMEs to conduct an audit of voluntary certification systems and make them demand for more open.

Also, entrepreneurs are encouraged to develop measures to reduce the number of unfair suppliers. Imperfection of the legislation in public procurement helping to win the trades due to price dumping, according to the “Support of Russia”. In some sectors, the reduction in the price of the contract is 60% or higher, the letter said organization. “The right to conclude government contracts often benefit the companies that have trained personnel and appropriate resources to implement them”, — stated in the document. Significantly reduce the price of the contract allows the use of cheap labor, confirms the head of the expert engineer Stanislav Shilyaev. This is most prevalent in the areas of construction, renovation, security services, transport, gardening and cleaning, he said.

Entrepreneurs in the letter note that “formal” winners of the contests often offered to carry to other organizations, but at below market price. This reduces the quality of performance of government contracts, and customers complain of poor service quality and low level perpetrators. Now the only sanction for such companies entry into the register of unfair suppliers, which deprives the company of the opportunity to participate in the procurement. But this restriction is easy to circumvent, says Shilyaev, creating a new legal entity.

Another problem of SMEs in public procurement, which specifies “Support of Russia” — a license for access to state secrets. Such a license may be required for the conclusion of state contracts, which involve work on sensitive sites or associated with the protection of state secrets.

“Support of Russia” indicates a contradiction in the rules governing the procedure for obtaining such licenses. “The organization may gain admission to the state secret only after the conclusion of the contract with the customer works, for the conclusion which previously required a license for conducting of works, connected with state secret,” the document says. There are cases where the text of the contract is correctly formulated, because of which the responsible authorities can’t confirm the degree of secrecy. As a result, the company cannot collect the full set of documents to obtain a license.

Obtaining a license requires patience, agree the expert “SKB Kontur”, but in fact the company have already learned to work around this problem. “The problem for obtaining a license is to show the existence of the order. But in this case, it is sufficient to provide a letter from any customer willing to confirm the necessity of this license and the intention to sign a contract,” explains Shilyaev. Not all customers are willing to make these concessions, moreover, that the essence of the problem is not solved, it recognizes the expert. “Support of Russia” proposes to consider the question of changing the procedure of obtaining a license.

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