"Government ignores tendering rules"

1st August 2007, Comments 0 comments

1 August 2007, DELFT – The national and local governments in the Netherlands ignore their own tendering rules in 70 percent of cases. "Development cooperation minister Bert Koenders' bad move in granting the organisation of the Schokland event to party friends is only the tip of the iceberg." This statement comes from MKB Nederland, the association for small and medium-sized enterprises. The MKB and employers' organisation VNO-NCW have jointly set up a special reporting office where businesses can ask que

1 August 2007

DELFT – The national and local governments in the Netherlands ignore their own tendering rules in 70 percent of cases. "Development cooperation minister Bert Koenders' bad move in granting the organisation of the Schokland event to party friends is only the tip of the iceberg."
 
This statement comes from MKB Nederland, the association for small and medium-sized enterprises. The MKB and employers' organisation VNO-NCW have jointly set up a special reporting office where businesses can ask questions and file complaints about tendering procedures. 

MKB has come to this figure of 70 percent based on the most recent figures from the ministry of economic affairs, says a spokesperson for the association. The government is one of the largest clients for small and medium-sized businesses. Every year an estimated EUR 200 million in orders is tendered out. MKB regularly receives complaints from businesses about extravagant demands and projects that are changed or cancelled while in progress. In many cases projects are not even tendered out, even though law states that this is required for all orders worth more than EUR 137,000.

That was the case in the Koenders affair. Earlier this week the minister was criticised for failing to tender out the organisation of the event "Het akkoord van Schokland." Instead he gave the project to friends of his within the Labour Party PvdA.

Youth and Family Affairs Minister André Rouvoet also ignored the tendering regulations when awarding a contract for the organisation of the Children's Summit on 6 June, it emerged last Thursday. Both ministers insisted that there was no time to tender out these projects.

MKB Nederland has repeatedly urged that a regulator be appointed. The employers believe that the arbitrary nature of government orders will not come to an end until the government is faced with hefty fines for ignoring regulations.

There is little point in taking the matter to court at the moment. Businesses usually are left empty-handed. Projects cannot be carried out a second time of course, nor is it possible to demand damages in many cases, says the MKB.

The Liberal VVD is demanding clarification from Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende on how his cabinet ministers have awarded orders for the organisation of events in the last few months.

The opposition party wants to know what the prime minister thinks of the actions of Koenders and Rouvoet, who both acted in violation of the tendering regulations. Orders worth more than EUR 137,000 must be publicly tendered so that more companies are given a chance at the business.

The VVD wants all government orders to be looked into. They also want the prime minister to clarify whether the closing meeting in Utrecht to mark his government's 100 days in office was tendered out in accordance with the regulations.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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