In the report “Impact of the measures adopted in the scope of the covid-19 in the entities of the Local Administration of the Continent”, released today, the Court of Auditors (TdC) stressed that, from the information in the Base Portal, until September 30, 2020, the Local Government entities signed 5,529 contracts related to covid-19, in the amount of 83.2 million euros (87.3% by municipalities, 5.9% by intermunicipal communities, 4.5% by local companies and the remainder by municipal services, associations, parishes and metropolitan areas).
“Of these contracts, 81.8% followed the simplified direct agreement procedure and 16.9% the general regime direct agreement, so only 1.2% involved prior consultation or public tender”, he says.
According to the TdC, almost all of these contracts concern the acquisition of goods and services, namely medical materials and equipment, security and personal protective equipment, computers and computer equipment, food products and cleaning, disinfection and hygiene materials. The vast majority of these contracts are of low or very low value (73% below five thousand euros), with only seven contracts above one million euros.
The 20 largest contracts were awarded by Cascais (nine), Lisbon (seven), Sintra (one), Loures (one), Oeiras (one) and Gaia (one).
The municipalities in the districts of Lisbon and Porto concentrated 66.0% of the value of contracts related to the pandemic (53.8% for Lisbon and 12.2% for Porto), followed by Faro with 7.7%.
On the other hand, 86 municipalities did not have any contract associated with the covid-19 at the Base Portal, “which allows placing reservations on the universality of the data of that Portal, considering the relative size of the absent municipalities and the fact that many already have hundreds of cases of disease in the respective municipality “, is added.
The TdC pointed out that there are big discrepancies in the value of the contracts concluded: “six municipalities are responsible for more than 50% of the total value, in relative terms, either by resident, or by covid-19 case”.
Regarding the entities to which the contracts were awarded, the TdC highlights “signs of concentration”, since five benefited from 31.3% of the total value, in addition to the existence of contracts by contracting entities in only one municipality, “which, given the prevalence of direct agreement, justifies greater scrutiny and reinforcement of transparency mechanisms “.
“In view of the situations analyzed, the Court recommends that local government entities, namely municipalities, quantify expenditure on covid-19 measures, as well as the revenue not collected, and that they disclose, on the respective electronic sites, data on physical execution and financial, treating this information in accountability “, wrote the TdC.
This entity also recommends that contracts be advertised on the Base Portal and that municipalities use whenever possible “contracting procedures that safeguard the principles of competition, economy and efficiency”.
On the other hand, it also suggests extending to other Local Government entities (such as the local business sector, intermunicipal communities, associations and metropolitan areas) the reporting of information to the Directorate-General of Municipalities about the destination of the expenditure and the revenue not collected as a result of the measures adopted, as well as the availability on the municipal portal of information about the municipalities that resorted or benefited from exceptional and temporary measures to face the covid-19.
In order for local authorities to face the pandemic, the Assembly of the Republic approved an exceptional and temporary legislative framework simplifying areas such as public procurement, the expenditure authorization regime and exceptional and temporary measures of a financial nature.
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