Government eyeing direct concessions
The Economy Ministry is introducing a measure for breaking down the tenders for public contracts into smaller parcels, paving the way for direct concessions and hasty procedures even in cases where open tenders ought to take place.
The government is bringing to Parliament a 500-page bill in the middle of the summer lull that was expected last year and which goes one step forward and two steps back: Although its adapts Greek legislation to the most recent European directives on public contracts, it cancels to a great extent the effort of bringing the biggest possible transparency and time- and money-saving to state procurements.
For instance, Article 118 provides that although recourse to a direct concession is allowed only when the estimated value of the contract is up to 20,000 euros, this can also be allowed in the cases of part or parts of contracts whose total value is greater.
The direct concession process, deprived of the publicity that a public contract tender normally entails, can even take place without the formation of a supervisory committee for that process.
The ministry argues that these steps have been introduced to speed up procedures – even though they do nothing to promote more transparency.
The house construction industry is shrinking for the eighth consecutive year, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) figures showed yesterday. In the first quarter, only 1,955 new houses were built across the country, against 2,181 a year earlier, and almost 26,000 in Q1 of 2007.