The newly adopted Act on the intervention measures to mitigate and eliminate the consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic (“Act”), which entered into force on 31 May 2020, introduces amendments to the Public Procurement Act. Importantly, the thresholds are being loosened and less stringent rules for exclusion of tenderers from public procurements and organization of design contests are being incorporated. The rules are applicable from 1 June 2020 until 15 April 2021.
Temporary raised threshold for low-value contract procedure for public works contracts in the general field
According to the Public Procurement Act, a low-value contract procedure can be conducted if a certain threshold is met. Such procurement procedure is simplified and faster, since the contracting authority is not required to verify the existence and content of the statements in the offer, but has only obligation to publish the notification on the tender and notice on award as well as to conduct the public opening of received offers. Moreover, less strict deadlines apply for this procurement procedure.
In order to provide new job opportunities by enabling faster and less administratively burdened public procurements, the Act is temporarily raising the threshold for low-value contract procedures for public works contracts in the general field from EUR 500,000 to EUR 1,000,000 (without VAT).
Loosening criteria for exclusion of tenderers
The Act introduces a corrective mechanism in two cases in which the tenderer should have otherwise been automatically excluded from the public procurement on the basis of Public Procurement Act, namely:
- if on the day of submission of the tender, request to participate or verification, the amount of unpaid overdue tax obligations and social security contributions is EUR 50 or more; and
- if on the day of submission of the tender, request to participate or verification, the tenderer has not filed all tax return forms for the last five years as per the day of submission of the tender or request to participate.
The tenderer will be granted an appropriate deadline to fulfil the above obligations, which shall not exceed 30 days. Only if the obligations are not settled within the deadline, the tenderer will be excluded from the public procurement.
The purpose of this intervention measure is to help legal entities that are facing significant liquidity problems due to COVID-19 epidemic by providing them more time to fulfil their financial obligations and at the same time encourage the fulfilment of tax obligations.
Loosening provisions on mandatory organization of design contents
The Act deviates from the rules of the Public Procurement Act regarding the mandatory organization of design contests for designs of health care facilities intended for carrying out health care at the secondary and tertiary levels.
 Official Gazette fo the Republic of Slovenia, No. 91/15 and 14/18.
A version of this article in Slovenian language is available here.