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Staying up to date with Public Procurement Opportunities

Publication Date: May 21, 2020
 


Written by Rosalynn Muscat rosalynn.muscat.jpg

In recent years, public procurement opportunities have become more visible and accessible through the introduction of a variety of online tools.  Following the introduction of electronic procurement in 2011, and the gradual expansion across the Civil Service ever since, the changes in Public Procurement Regulations in 2016 have made e-procurement obligatory.

Public procurement constitutes a substantial part of the national spending, making up for 16% of the national Gross Domestic Product, and therefore Economic Operators should be much aware of business opportunities that may be of interest to them.

It seems like an eternity, yet as little as a few years ago, the only way one could become aware of Government procurement opportunities was through notice boards in various Government departments and entities, the Department of Contracts and by perusing the Malta Government Gazette.  The inroads in information technology has rendered most of these methods obsolete, whilst other channels have been introduced and over time, further enhanced.

Nowadays, there exists a variety of information sources on public procurement opportunities as detailed below.

The Malta Government Gazette Online: The Government Gazette, although no longer the official medium for the publication of public tenders, is still an active medium for the advertising of procurement opportunities by Government Departments and Entities.  Now available in digital copy, the Gazette makes it easier for Economic Operators to browse for those procurement opportunities which are of interest to them. 

: https://www.gov.mt/mt/Government/DOI/Government%20Gazette/Tenders/Pages/default.aspx

The Department of Contracts Website: The Department of Contracts (DoC) is Malta’s Central Government Authority and is responsible for the administration of the procurement procedures as laid down in the Public Procurement Regulations (LN352/2016). Its website contains numerous procurement-related resources and information that are of relevance to public procurers and economic operators alike.

: https://contracts.gov.mt/

The Electronic Public Procurement System (ePPS): EPPS is an online system which encompasses the Government’s procurement requests, and which has opened up access to public procurement opportunities exponentially. Government Contracting Authorities are mandated to use EPPS for their open procurement needs that are valued in excess of €5,000 excluding VAT. Procurement opportunities can be of various nature (works, services or supplies). 

EPPS is designed to adhere to the underlying procurement principles of transparency, integrity, competition, equal treatment and non-discrimination. It allows economic operators (irrespective of their geographical location) to have access to all information and documentation related to open tender opportunities, and to register for new tender alerts related to any areas of interest, or for tenders issued by particular Contracting Authorities. EPPS also allows a proper exchange of information between Contracting Authorities and Economic Operators, particularly where clarifications to tenders are concerned (with users being able to associate themselves to a particular call for tenders of interest, so as to be immediately notified with the addition of new tender documents or the publication of new clarifications). EPPS also ensures that tenders are submitted online and retained in a secure manner. Novel procurement methods such as the Dynamic Purchasing System are also possible to be conducted online through the EPPS.

Economic Operators need to register and active their account in order to use the enhanced features of EPPS such as registering for email alerts and submit a tender. Registration is free and carries no obligation.

: https://www.etenders.gov.mt/

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Individual Contracting Authority Websites: Numerous Contracting Authorities maintain their own websites to provide information on their procurement activities. MITA maintains a procurement-related mobile-responsive website that aims to complement the information made available on EPPS. A principal use of this website is for MITA to announce its intended future procurement activities by maintaining a procurement outlook for the upcoming two quarters. The website also provides easy access to the open tenders published by the Agency, as well as serving as an optimal platform for accounting procurement-related activities and events. Users can choose to subscribe to email alerts for outlook refresh, MITA tenders publication, and new events, and can easily add procurement milestones related to events or tenders to their individual calendar. The website also serves as a repository for procurement-related information and resources.  

: https://procurement.mita.gov.mt/

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Official Journal of the EU (OJEU): Procurement Regulations across the European Union mandate that any tenders exceeding established thresholds (currently set at €139,000 for service and supply tenders, and €5,350,000 for works tenders) need to be advertised in the Tenders Electronic Daily (TED), the online version of the Supplement to the OJEU, dedicated to public procurement. The TED makes it easier for suppliers across Europe (indeed, the world) to become aware of the procurement opportunities being issued by the EU Member States.  Every year, over 620,000 procurement notices are published in TED, including over 240,000 tender opportunities worth approximately €545 billion. These opportunities may be searched and filtered according to business opportunity, business sector, or place of delivery. Users can also register to TED and personalise search profiles, and set email alerts based on their needs and interests.

: https://ted.europa.eu/

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All the above-mentioned resources embrace the principles of procurement which are those of non-discrimination, transparency and equal treatment, while at the same time bringing suppliers and buyers together in order to achieve their goals.  Through the ongoing modernisation of public procurement, the procurement process is becoming more accessible, efficient and effective for the Government and its suppliers alike.