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Eight year trek from tender launch to signing

Kyriacos Kokkinos

It takes on average eight years from the moment of announcing a tender until a contract is signed, Deputy Minister for Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Kyriakos Kokkinos said on Thursday.

Kokkinos was speaking at the House audit committee on the issues surrounding long-term project implementation in the public sector, for which a report had been compiled.

“The average time from the moment you announce a tender until a contract is signed is eight years,” he said, adding that there were many “tragic examples”.

The discussion at the committee was mainly focused on IT services and contracts. MPs were told that for 39 contracts for which data was available, it appeared an average of four years that should be needed for the public procurement process, in one case, turned into 14 years with the cost rising from an initial estimate of €60m to €174m due to the delays.

Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides, who also attended the meeting said he felt the appointment of the deputy minister “brings a breath of fresh air”. He said he hoped it signalled the end of such practices.

Kokkinos said that he agreed with most of the findings of the report. He advocated the breaking up of large projects into smaller ones that could go ahead faster.

Regarding the extensions of public contracts, Kokkinos said it should be expected to return to the same contractor but it should include “safety valves”, he said, “but not just to go to competitions for the sake of competition.”

Kokkinos suggested that the evaluation of bids should take five to six months for projects costing under €5m and for those over that amount the evaluation time should be a maximum of nine months.

“If more time is needed, there should be explanations,” he said.

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