The bidding process for public contracts in Argentina
All the questions
The bidding process
The GRPP provides for three different procurement procedures for awarding public contracts:
- public competitive bidding (the main method of procurement), which involves broad competitive bidding;
- a private offer, which consists of a call for tenders addressed to certain specific bidders already registered in the National Register of Public Contracts; and
- direct award, where there is no competitive procurement procedure. This exceptional procedure is only applicable in cases expressly authorized by the GRPP, in particular:
- whenever the contract is valued at less than 1.3 million pesos;
- whenever, according to the applicable rules, it is not possible to apply a different procedure;
- whenever the service to be hired or the asset to be acquired is exclusively performed or produced by a certain company, artist or specialist (for example, goods or services covered by exclusive intellectual property rights);
- in the event of failure of a previous call for tenders or competition;
- when, for duly justified reasons of urgency or urgency, it is not possible for the procuring entity to launch a public or private call for tenders; and
- whenever the procuring entity contracts for the repair of machinery, vehicles, equipment or engines the dismantling, removal or prior examination of which is essential to determine the necessary repair.
The procedure to be used in each case of direct award depends on the threshold value of the contract. If the contract to be awarded is less than 1.6 million pesos, the procuring entity is authorized to award a contract without competition. If the contract to be awarded is valued at more than 1.6 million pesos, a competitive procedure is required. In this case, if the contract is valued at more than 1.6 million pesos but less than 8 million pesos, the contracting authority launches a private tender by submitting calls for tenders to bidders already registered in the register. of the National Public Procurement Office. Government contracts valued at more than 8 million pesos must be awarded after a public tender procedure, which involves a broad call for tenders and a general announcement.
Finally, within the framework of the public-private partnership regime, Decree 118/17 stipulates that the direct award mechanism is in no case applicable.
The GRPP and its regulations stipulate that, in cases of open bidding, procuring entities must publish the tender notices in the official government publication (i.e. the Official Gazette) and either on the National Markets Office website or in the Electronic Journal. contract system. In practice, the tender is also commonly advertised in the relevant national or local newspapers. Said publication must take place over two days, and at least 20 or 7 days before the date set for the opening of bids, depending on whether or not the call is published on the website. For international public calls for tenders, at least 40 days before the date fixed for the opening of the bids, the calls for tenders must be published on the official website of the United Nations (UN Development Business) or the World Bank (DG Market) .
In the case of private tenders, the contracting authority must send invitations to at least five suppliers already registered in the register of the National Procurement Office for the category of goods or services to be awarded. These invitations must be sent at least seven days before the bid opening date. In addition, private tenders are published on the official website of the National Public Procurement Office from the date of dispatch of the invitations.
In the case of direct awards, the contracting authority must send invitations to at least three suppliers and, in certain cases, make information on public contracts available on the website of the National Public Procurement Office.
In accordance with the GRPP regulations, certain information and documents must be published on the official website of the National Office for Public Procurement, such as notices of invitation, draft specifications, specifications in force and their details. , bid opening minutes, comparative tables of bids, opinions on the evaluation of bids and the objections raised against them, auctions, contracts and any other data established by the regulations.
The GRPP regulations provide a list of information that procuring entities must always include in the tender notice in the event of an open tender. This information includes:
- individual contact details of the procuring entity;
- the type of procedure (i.e. whether or not it is an open tender);
- the identification number of the administrative supply file;
- the prices of the tender documents;
- the place and the deadline for consulting the tender documents; and
- the e-mail address of the procuring entity.
With regard to the public-private partnership regime, Decree 118/17 stipulates that the tender notice must be published in the Official Gazette of Argentina for a period of three days. The last publication must take place at least 60 calendar days before the date fixed for the presentation of tenders or for obtaining the tender documents, whichever comes first. In addition, the invitation to tender must be published on the website of the Undersecretariat for Public-Private Participation and on the website of the contracting authority.
In addition, in the case of an international tender, the tender must also be launched by the publication of a notice on the United Nations (UN Development Business) website, on the World Bank website and on the Inter-American Development Bank website; in any case, for a period of three days with a minimum of 60 calendar days before the date fixed for the presentation of tenders or for obtaining the tender documents, whichever comes first.
In addition, depending on the nature of the project, the contracting authority may order the publication of the invitation to tender in the mass media of the country or abroad.
iii Submission and Modification of Bids
Before submitting a bid, it is necessary to comply with federal tax regulations in order to participate in a public procurement contract with the federal government. In this sense, Resolution 4164-E/2017 of the Federal Administration of Public Revenue stipulates that the procedure throughout the federal administration can verify that bidders comply with tax regulations. It is also necessary to register with the supplier information system (SIPRO). At the provincial and municipal levels, the prior registration of bidders in various local registers of suppliers is also mandatory.
According to the GRPP Rules, tenders must be submitted at the place and within the time limits specified in the tender dossier. Therefore, the procuring entity must reject any tender submitted after this deadline. Tenders may also be submitted by mail, according to the rules set out in the GRPP.
The submission of an offer implies, for the tenderers, full knowledge and acceptance of the regulations and the clauses governing the call for tenders; therefore, these rules and clauses cannot be validly challenged after such submission.
According to the GRPP regulations, in principle, the offer cannot be modified after the expiry of the deadline for the submission of offers. The modification of offers is exceptionally accepted to correct certain correctable errors, such as data or information already included in the databases of public bodies, being written in a foreign language, or, in general, when they do not modify the principle of equal treatment of tenderers. .
To be admitted, any tender must meet certain formal requirements, such as the tender must be written in Spanish, the original tender must be signed on each page by the tenderer or his representative, or the tender must be submitted with the number of copies indicated in the tender documents. The tenderer must also establish a special address where each notification must be issued in the tender, and the price offered which, as a general rule and unless otherwise specified, must be established in the national currency. Any other information or documents that may be required in the tender documents must also be included. Although there is no set fee for submitting a bid, suppliers must guarantee that the bid will stand for the duration of the tender. The bid maintenance guarantee is 5% of the final bid price.
Unless a different deadline is established in the tender documents, tenderers must maintain their tenders for at least 60 calendar days from the date of opening of the bids. This term can be extended automatically, for the same period of 60 days, every 60 days. The bidder who has decided not to maintain his offer for a new period must notify this decision at least 10 days before the expiry of the period. Consequently, the tenderer will be excluded from the public call for tenders, but will not lose the guarantee of maintaining the tender.
Bids must be opened at the place, on the date and at the time indicated in the tender dossier, during a public event. The original version of each bid must be available to bidders for the following two days.