BAIT ACCUSES FINANCE MINISTRY OF EVADING THE LAW
The criticism on the part of the Bulgarian Association for Information Technologies (BAIT) that the Finance Ministry does not observe the provisions of the Public Procurement Act is not from yesterday. It has been mainly directed to the state-owned Information Services Inc, whose principal the Finance Ministry is. According to BAIT's managers, the company closes a great number of deals with state institutions without inviting procedures as per the Public Procurement Act. In a number of cases the Finance Ministry assigns to Information Services serious orders directly, without observing the legal stipualtions, BAIT representatives claim. This concerns deliveries of hardware components and software products, installment of structural cable systems and server configurations, repair of computers, supply and assembly of communicational equipment, etc., BAIT specifies.The state-owned company itself admits it wins some 30% of the larger public procurement tenders in the sphere of information technologies.In that way many of the computer firms are deprived of the possibility to take part in the distribution of budget funds in the sector. This in no way helps the increase of competition in the branch, and hence the reduction of prices, Yordan Kisyov, an expert at BAIT and Manager of RISK Electronics, said for the BANKER weekly. He recalled that in the beginning of 2001 the Finance Ministry invited a tender for maintenance, administration, and improvement of the systems for information, communication and management, and the establishment of links between them. The tender was won by Information Services, Mr. Kisyov said. The task was set in such a way as to repulse the other candidates from participation, he pointed out. After BAIT objected the tender results, they were revoked by then finance minister Mouravey Radev, who promised that the mistake would be set right in due time, Mr. Kisyov explained. However, this remained just a promise. A contract was signed with Information Services and the company began carrying out the activities, projected in the contract.According to BAIT members, there is still no positive effect from their talks with representatives of the Finance Ministry. Although some personal changes were made in Information Services, the company is still working unlawfully and gets assignments from the Finance Ministry without observing the Public Procurement Act, a written stance from BAIT's management, signed by the Management Board Chairman Milcho Borov says. However, the Finance Ministry has not yet extended its official reply to that matter.