The municipality has already spent at least 650,000 dollars on the New Year appearance of Yerevan, for the installation of Christmas trees, decorations and lighting.
The festive bustle has begun. The main Christmas tree is placed in the Republic Square, and the entire surrounding area is also decorated. Similar works are being carried out in different parts of the capital as well. The municipality regularly informs that this or that street will be closed for some time due to works.
And was it necessary to have so much luxury? Citizens’ opinions are different. “Of course, I would like to. What is it? We should always live in sadness, so be it, especially since it is for our grandchildren.”
“It turned out pretty nice, and given the fact that we’re going to host Eurovision this year, I think we should give our city a little proper presentation.”
Other points of view were also heard. “The state of the country does not allow us to afford luxuries. The luxuries of the city also go from the people’s pockets.”
New Year’s events, fireworks will not be organized, the main Christmas tree will be installed in Republic Square. Yerevan Municipality
Contracts worth 650,000 dollars for decorating the city were signed by one-person procurement procedure, that is, without a tender. The experts half jokingly and half seriously say, is it news that the holidays are approaching, what prevented them from announcing a tender in advance, receiving offers, choosing the best option, and then giving only hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Thus, the lion’s share of the money – 191 million drams – was allocated to the “Cinemart” company for the promised large-scale holiday lighting. Money from different companies was also allocated for decorating the administrative districts of Yerevan.
Contracts signed for the formation of a number of districts on the official e-procurement platform are not yet available, which means that more than $650,000 may be spent.
Purchases without a tender are made in case of lack of time or urgent needs. The law, however, provides an opportunity to make purchases in this way even when the purchased product or service can only be purchased from one person. This provision, for example, applies to utilities: gas, water, electricity.
In 2019, however, the government decided to allow single-person purchases for cultural events as well. Yerevan Municipality is now justifying purchases without a tender by referring to this provision.
“There are serious risks, because the problem is that the object of the purchase can be formulated in such a way as to say: you know, this thing can only be done by this company, if it is formulated in such a way that the parameters of the event are adapted to what a company offers, this is naturally corrupt. it’s a risk,” says Varuzhan Hoktanyan, head of programs at Transparency International, an NGO that studies corruption in the state system, emphasizing that only by taking into account the provision adopted in 2019 can it be argued that this is a step back from the path of having a free, competitive system.
“Here we have that situation, which very often happens when such a provision is introduced for certain good reasons, but then it turns out that the provision introduced for that good reason is abused more. This must be understood, indeed, no other company is able to organize that event, even if not according to the parameters given in the description of the object of purchase, but according to other parameters.
Reforms in the procurement system are among the promises of the authorities. In 2019, Prime Minister Pashinyan said that their goal is to make the system flexible, which will preserve the principle of fair competition and be free from corruption risks.
How can there be competition when the relevant bodies often make purchases without tenders? According to the official e-procurement platform, Yerevan Municipality has already signed 3710 purchase contracts this year, more than ten percent of them were from one person.
“Such purchases are made that could not be done by one person, that’s the problem,” Hoktanyan notes.
Why are tenders not announced in advance? the municipality does not give the answer to this question yet, they promised to address the holiday expenses and events later. In the capital, they started preparing for the holidays much earlier than usual, so that the city will be fully decorated before the Children’s Eurovision Song Contest on December 11.
The main Christmas tree will be lit on December 5th.