Public Procurement Measures 

April, 2020 - Carlos Umana

On March 20, 2020, through Decree 440 of 2020, the President of the Republic adopted various emergency measures on public procurement, which will be in force within the framework of the declaration of a State of Emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Among the measures adopted by the President of the Republic are the following:

  1. The public hearings to be held in procurement procedures may be carried out through electronic means guaranteeing access to the proponents, control, and any citizen interested in participating. For the acquisition of goods and services of uniform technical characteristics, by means of an abbreviated selection procedure by reverse auction, the event may be brought forward by electronic means. In the ongoing selection processes, it is not necessary to modify the specifications for this purpose. However, at least two working days after the event, the entity shall inform the methodology and conditions for the conduct of the hearings.

  2. Scheduled hearings of administrative sanctioning procedures (article 86 of Law 1474 of 2011) may be carried out through electronic means. Notwithstanding the above, the authorizing officer of the expenditure or competent official may decree the suspension of terms, including those initiated prior to the entry into force of this Decree.

  3. Public procurement procedures that have not been formally opened may be suspended.

  4. Public procurement procedures that have been formally opened may be revoked (with the proper support arguments) provided that no offers had been submitted.

  5. Territorial entities shall prefer, for the acquisition of goods and services with uniform technical characteristics, catalogue purchases derived from the Price Framework Agreements in force.

  6. Colombia Compra Eficiente (i.e. Colombia’s public procurement agency) shall design and organize the procurement procedure for price framework agreements by direct contracting during the term of the state of emergency in order to facilitate the supply of goods and services directly related to the state of emergency. Likewise, in the framework price agreements in force, directly related to the pandemic, it may configure emergency catalogues, made up of pre-existing suppliers in these Demand Aggregation Instruments, as well as new suppliers, after verifying the enabling and qualification requirements of the selection process.

  7. For the acquisition of emergency-related goods, entities may acquire them through the Large-Scale Demand Aggregation Instrument.

  8. It is understood that the fact that gives rise to the declaration of manifest urgency by State entities, for the direct contracting of the supply of goods, the provision of services or the execution of works in the immediate future, has been verified.

  9. All contracts entered into by State entities that relate to goods, works or services that enhance the management and mitigation of the emergency situation may be added (increased in their amount) without limitation as to value. For this purpose, the State Entity must previously justify the need and the way in which such goods and services will contribute to manage or mitigate the emergency situation.

  10. State entities shall implement electronic mechanisms for the reception, processing and payment of invoices and collection accounts of their contractors, without prejudice to the provisions of article 6161 of the Tax Statute.

  11. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Rotatory Fund was authorized to enter into internal inter-administrative agreements and contracts for the purpose of acquiring from foreign public entities, foreign private companies or other foreign organizations or persons, goods and services necessary to mitigate the pandemic and its effects, without applying Law 80 of 1993.

By means of Decree 537 of 2020, these measures were extended based on Resolution 385 of March 12 of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, where the state of sanitary emergency was declared due to the new coronavirus COVID-19 throughout the National Territory until May 30, 2020.



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