(QCOSTARICA) The Ministry of Finance (Ministerio de Hacienda) and the state run power company ESPH (Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia) have been denounced by the Costa Rican Chamber of Information and Communication Technologies (Cámara Costarricense de Tecnologías de Información y Comunicación- Camtic), which brings together technology companies, for anticompetitive practices in the market of digital technologies.
To evade the process of regular procurement, the Ministry of Finance is said to have applied the exception in Article 2 of the Public Procurement Act, which allows the contracting activity between public entities and direct contracting when there are no other bidders, or there is urgency.
The Camtic, in its filing of the complaint alleging anticompetitive practices, says the Ministry of Finance convened an ultra fast tender and received only two bids for US$27 million and US$8 million to develop an electronic invoicing system.
Fernando Rodriguez, Deputy Minister of Revenue, denied that the Article 2 was used to avoid bidding process, according to a statement circulated by the Ministry of Finance on Thursday (August 11).
Rodriguez explained that the legislation is clear, allowing the contractual activity on the principle of efficiency and the best of national interest.
The Camtic also denounced the case before the Comptroller General of the Republic (Contraloría).
The Camtic considers that the ESPH has no technical expertise for the development of electronic invoicing.
According to Luis Carlos Chaves, president of the Camtic, there is an “abuse” by public institutions to use that article, fostering a situation that does not promote competition between public and private companies.
According to estimates of companies in the sector, the solution purchased by the Ministry of Finance should not exceed US$3 million.