Vietnam – the World Bank group is asking duane morris about public procurement

Bizar Male

1. What is the entity that conducts procurement for the authority that owns the majority of roads comparable to the one described above? Directorate for Roads of Vietnam within the Ministry of Transport

2. How many open, unrestricted and competitive public calls for tenders for roadwork contracts were completed in the last 5 years by the Procuring Entity you selected in Q.1? More than 51

3. Please provide a list of the laws, regulations and other binding materials (including guidelines and manuals) that regulate public procurement in Vietnam. Please include legislation or other binding materials promulgated at the national/federal level as well as any additional legislation that is applicable to the Procuring Entity you selected in Q.1. Circular No. 04/2017/TT-BKHDT of 2017 Circular No. 05/2020/TT-BKHDT of 2020 Law on Bidding No. 43/2013/QH13 of 2013 Decree No. 63/2014/ND-CP of 2013 Law on Investment in the form of Public-Private Partnership of 2020 Decree No.25/2020/ND-CP of 2020 Commercial Law No. 36/2005/QH11 of 2005 Decree No. 37/2015/ND-CP of 2015 Circular No. 03/2015/TT-BKHDT of 2015 – Decree 50/2021/ND-CP of 2021 Circular 11/2019/TT-BKHDT of 2020 Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement of 2020

4. Please list any mandatory standard tender documents and/or standard contract terms that the Procuring Entity must use for a contract like the one described in Section 1. Contract terms must specify: a/ Applied legal bases; b/ Language used in the contract; c/ Content and volume of work; d/ Quality, technical requirements of work; pre-acceptance test and handover conditions; dd/ Contract performance duration and schedule; e/ Contract price, advance payment, currency used in payment, and payment for the contract; g/ Contract performance security, contract advance guarantee; h/ Adjustment of the construction contract; i/ Rights and obligations of the parties to the construction contract; k/ Liability for violations of the contract, rewards and fines for violations of the contract; l/ Suspension and termination of the contract; m/ Settlement of disputes over the contract; n/ Risks and force majeure events; o/ Settlement and liquidation of the contract; p/ Other contents. All standards are listed in Bidding Law and Article 141 Construction Law.

5. Are you aware of any change (in practice or in laws/regulations/procedures) related to public procurement between May 2, 2020 and May 1, 2021? For example: amendments to applicable public procurement laws, enactment and/or implementation of new regulations, implementation or improvement of e-procurement platforms, changes to the bid security and performance guarantee framework, etc. Yes. The implementation of the EU- Vietnam Free Trade Agreement from 1 August 2020

6. Are you aware of any regulatory or administrative measures (in practice or in laws/regulations/procedures/contract management) related to public procurement that has been implemented between May 2, 2020 and May 1, 2021 to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic? Digitization of interactions between officials and private sector

7. If one or several electronic procurement portal(s) (i.e., an official website(s) specifically and exclusively dedicated to public procurement) are in operation, please mark which platform would most commonly be used by the Procuring Entity. http://muasamcong.mpi.gov.vn

8. Out of all road works contracts with the Procuring Entity, how many are procured through the portal you listed in Q.7? More than 75%

9. Which of the following information about road works contracts procured by the Procuring Entity is made publicly available in machine-readable format? (i.e, data format that can be processed by a computer, such as XSL, CSV, JSON, XML, etc.) Estimated cost – as calculated by the Procuring Entity at the time of advertising.

II. PHASES OF THE PROCUREMENT PROCESS

Phase 1: Budgeting and Needs Assessment

1. According to the legal framework, when the Procuring Entity prepares to advertise a new procurement opportunity for a contract like the one described in Section 1, which of the following are used to estimate the contract value and projected length of works? Market analysis, standardized unit cost, project-spcific technical drawings, feasibility study, similar projects from prvious years Legal basis: 58/2016/TT-BTC

2. In practice, is the estimated contract value/budget published in the tender notice/tender documents? Yes

3. Is the Procuring Entity required to have already allocated budget to a specific project before tendering? Yes, there is a specific budget allocation

4. How often does the Procuring Entity award a contract without having all the necessary funds? Occasionally (between 25-50%)

Phase 2: from Advertisement to Bid Submission

5. According to the legal framework, would open tendering (i.e. the process in which any business can submit a bid) be the default method of procurement in Vietnam for a contract like the one described in Section 1? Yes, according to Article 20 of Law on Bidding No. 43/2013/QH13 of 2013.

6. According to the legal framework, can the Procuring Entity require bidders to participate in a prequalification process specific to that contract before being able to submit their economic offer? Yes, according to Articles 22 and 44 of Decree No. 63 of 2014. a. How often would this happen for a contract like the one described in Section 1? Rarely (10-25%) b. In practice, how many days would be necessary for BidCo to receive a decision on its prequalification from the moment it submitted all the necessary documents? 30 days c. In your experience, as of May 1, 2021, has Covid-19 impacted the frequency of prequalification and the time you indicated above? Yes – Longer processing time of dossier – case on case basis. d. According to the legal framework, must the contractor be registered with the Procuring Entity in order to bid for a contract like the one described in Section 1? Yes, according to Article 5.1(d), Bidding Law

7. In practice, what is the most common method of procurement for a contract like the one described in Section 1? Open tendering is the default by law and also the most common in practice

8. Does the legal framework define the situations in which each procurement method should be used? Yes, according to Articles 21-27 of Law on Bidding No. 43/2013/QH13 of 2013.

9. Does the legal framework prohibit dividing contracts to circumvent thresholds for open tendering? Yes, according to Article 89.6.k of Law on Bidding No. 43/2013/QH13 of 2013. a. In practice, how often does this happen? Often (between 50-90%)

10. Which of the following materials need to be made publicly available by the Procuring Entity? Procurement plans, Model procurement documents and materials/standard contract conditions, Tender notices, Tender documents and technical specifications, Notices of award/bidding results

11. According to the legal framework, is there a minimum time limit between the advertisement of the tender notice and the submission deadline for an open tendering procedure like the one described in Section 1? Yes, Article 6, Decree No. 25/2020/ND-CP a. In practice, how many days would pass between the advertisement of the tender notice and the submission deadline for a contract like the one described in Section 1? 30-40 days b. How often does the Procuring Entity modify the tender documents for any reason after advertisement, but before the submission deadline? Rarely (between 10-25%) c. In practice, by how many days would the timeframe you indicated in Q.21.a be extended due to these modifications? 0 days

12. Does the legal framework establish the minimum content of the tender notice and tender documents? Yes, according to Articles 218-219 of Commercial Law No. 36/2005/Qh11; and Circular No. 03/2015/TT-BKHDT of 2015.

13. Which aspects of subcontracting is regulated by the applicable legal framework? Features, disclosure, liability, according to Article 4 of Law on Bidding No. 43/2013/QH13 of 2013; and Article 128 of Decree No. 63/2014/ND-CP of 2014.

14. According to the legal framework, if the intent to subcontract was not disclosed in the bid, what is the contractor who decides to subcontract after the contract is signed required to do? Inform the procuring entity and seek its approval

15. According to the legal framework, how clarification requests from potential bidders should be addressed? The procuring entity will answer, but it is not always required to communicate the answer to all other bidders.

16. According to the legal framework, is BidCo required to provide a form of bid guarantee? Yes, according to Article 11.1 of Law on Bidding No. 43/2013/QH13 of 2013. a. If bid guarantee is not required by law, would it usually be requested in practice by the Procuring Entity for a contract like the one described in Section 1? Yes

17. In practice, which instrument would BidCo most commonly use as a bid guarantee? Bank guarantee/Letter of credit, Bid security declaration Phase 3: from Bid Opening to Contract Signing

18. Does the legal framework establish a timeframe for the Procuring Entity to proceed to bid opening once the deadline for bid submission has been reached? Yes, according to Article 14.4(a) of Decree No. 63/2014/ND-CP a. In practice, how many days after the deadline for bid submission does the Procuring Entity proceed to bid opening? 0 day

19. In practice, in a case comparable to the case study scenario, how many days would pass between bid opening and public notice of award (i.e. the moment in which all tenderers, participants and relevant parties are notified of the award decision), considering that no complaints/challenges/protests have been filed? 60 days

a. In your experience, as of May 1, 2021, has Covid-19 impacted the process and time to award a contract that you indicated in Q.29? No b. In practice, between bid opening and public notice of award, how often does the Procuring Entity ask questions/additions to bidders on the documents they submitted? Occasionally (between 25-50%) c. In practice, by how many days would the timeframe you indicated in Q.29 be extended due to questions/additions asked by the Procuring Entity? 45 days

20. Is there a standstill (or pause) period between public notice of award and contract signing to allow unsuccessful bidders to challenge the award decision? No, standstill is only triggered by objection.

21. In practice, in a case comparable to the case study scenario, how many days would pass on average between public notice of award and contract signing? 30-40 days a. In your experience, as of May 1, 2021, has Covid-19 impacted the process and time to sign the contract that you indicated in Q.31? No

22. In practice, how many days would pass on average between contract signing, receipt of a notice to proceed with the works, and the commencement of the works? 30 days

23. Selection committee – Which of the following characteristics are regulated by the applicable legal framework? The number of members of the committee The education requirements of members of the committee The professional requirements of members of the committee The process to appoint the members of the committee Legal basis: Article 116 of Decree No.63/2014/ND-CP

24. Are employees of the Procuring Entity required to follow a mandatory code of conduct or ethics that includes topics like screening procedures, conflict of interest, training requirements, etc.? No

25. According to the legal framework, which award criterion would be used for a contract like the one described in Section 1? At the discretion of the Procuring Entity, according to Articles 39.1, 39.2 and 39.3 of Law on Bidding No. 43/2013/QH13 of 2013.

26. In practice, how often is the award decision based solely on price and not on best value for money? Very often (> 90%)

27. Does the legal framework establish criteria to identify abnormally low bids? No

28. Does the legal framework define what constitutes a non-substantial error? Yes – Article 4.18 and 4.19 and 42 of Law on Bidding No. 43/2013/QH13 of 2013; and Article 17 of Decree 63/2014/ND-CP of 2014. a. In practice, how often does the Procuring Entity require bidders to amend their offers (because of mistakes, arithmetic errors, etc.)? Rarely (10-25%) b. In practice, in these cases would the bidder be given the opportunity to rectify such error before disqualification? Yes – Article 17 of Decree No. 63/2014/ND-CP

29. According to the legal framework, when a bidder is excluded because it did not meet the selection criteria, is it provided with an explanation of the reasons for the exclusion in writing? Yes, the bidder must always be provided with an explanation in writing Legal basis: 63/2014/ND-CP

30. According to the legal framework, when a bidder loses, is it provided with an explanation of the reasons for the loss in writing? Yes, the bidder must always be provided with an explanation in writing Legal basis: 63/2014/ND-CP

Phase 4: Contract Management

31. According to the legal framework, is BidCo required to provide a performance guarantee deposit that ensures a source of compensation in case of failure to perform its contractual obligations? Yes, according to Articles 66 and 72 of Law on Bidding No. 43/2013/QH13 of 2013. a. If a performance guarantee is not required by law, would it usually be requested in practice by the Procuring Entity for a contract like the one described in Section 1? Yes

32. In practice, which instrument would BidCo most commonly use as a performance guarantee? Cash/Certified check Certificate of deposit Bank Guarantee/Letter of Credit

33. In practice, how long does it usually take for the Procuring Entity to return the performance guarantee in full once the works have been completed and accepted by the Procuring Entity? Within 20 days

34. Which aspects of contract management are regulated by the applicable legal framework? Renegotiations. Legal basis: Article 67 Law on Bidding, Article 93 Decree 63/2014/ND-CP

35.How often would a contract like the one described in Section 1 be renegotiated? Rarely (10-25%)

36. If the contract described in Section 1 were more complex (i.e., lengthier and/or more costly execution, more complex scope or object, etc.), how often would it be renegotiated? Occasionally (between 25-50%)

37. According to the legal framework, is there a maximum percentage of price/quantity increase for changing (variation) orders? No

38. According to the legal framework, is there a percentage of price increase above which the procuring entity is not allowed to renegotiate and is always required to re-tender? No

39. In practice, are the results of contract renegotiations made publicly available? No

40. In practice, how many days would pass on average from the moment one of the parties requests/initiates a renegotiation of the contract until a new contract amendment is signed? 30 – Dependent on the negotiation process a. In your experience, as of May 1, 2021, has Covid-19 impacted the frequency of contract renegotiations and the time to authorize them? No

41. How often do bidders submit unrealistically low bids to win the contract, confident of having a possibility to renegotiate at a later stage? Often (between 50-90%)

42. How often are “emergencies” used as a reason to renegotiate? Very rarely (< 10% of cases)

43. How often would a changing (variation) order/price adjustment (i.e. a modification below a certain threshold or clearly defined in the terms of the contract) take place in a contract like the one described in Section 1? Occasionally (between 25-50%)

a. In practice, how many days would pass on average from the moment that the modification becomes necessary until a changing (variation) order/price adjustment is issued? 30 days – case by case basis

44. How often would additional works related to the initial contract (i.e. works by the original contractor that have become necessary and that were not included in the initial procurement) be awarded to the same contractor through direct award? Occasionally (between 25-50%)

a. In practice, how many days would pass on average from the moment additional works become necessary until they are awarded to the same original contractor? 30 days

Phase 5: Payment, Delays and Quality Assessment

45. According to the legal framework, is there a limit to how much the Procuring Entity can pay upfront for the contractor to hire workers, buy materials, and start operations in a contract like the one described in Section 1? No a. In practice, how much would usually be paid upfront for a contract like the one described in Section 1? 10-50% b. In practice, if an advance payment is usually issued, does the contractor have to provide a guarantee for receiving this payment? Yes c. In practice, how many calendar days will be necessary for BidCo to receive the advance payment once the request has been submitted to the Procuring Entity? 10-20 days

46. During the execution of the contract, does the legal framework establish a timeframe within which the Procuring Entity must process the payment once an invoice is received? Yes, according to Article 19 of Decree No. 37/2015/ND-CP of 2015. a. In practice, how many calendar days will be necessary on average for BidCo to receive payment once the invoice has been delivered to the relevant authority? 30 days b. In practice, how many people would need to authorize payment within the procuring entity before payment is made? 2 c. In practice, how often will BidCo receive payment within the timeframe established by the legal framework? Often (between 50-90%) d. According to the legal framework, is the company entitled to claim interest on late payments if the Procuring Entity does not pay within the legally-established timeframe? Yes, according to Article 94 of Decree No. 63/2014/ND-CP of 2014. e. How often would such interest on late payment be paid to the company? Often (between 50-90%) f. In practice, for a contract like the one described in Section 1, how many days would pass on average between the moment BidCo notifies the Procuring Entity that the works are completed and a formal agreement between them stipulating that the works are indeed finished and comply with the contract specifications (i.e. a certificate of completion of works)? 60 days g. In your experience, as of May 1, 2021, has Covid-19 impacted the time to certify the completion of works? Yes, on-site visits are subject to quanrantine regulations by provincial authorities h. How often do disagreements between the Procuring Entity and BidCo on the completed works delay the process of reaching a formal agreement that the works are finished? Occasionally (between 25-50%) i. In practice, by how many days would the aforementioned time be extended to resolve this disagreement and obtain a certificate of completion of works from the Procuring Entity? 90 days

47. Assuming that BidCo delivers works complying with the quality standards agreed-upon in the contract, within budget and on time, what strategies, if any, does the Procuring Entity use to delay or avoid payment? Bureaucracy/ Paperworks inspection a. How often would BidCo resort to informal payments to facilitate payment? Very rarely (< 10% of cases) b. In practice, how often is a portion of the payment retained to guarantee the works for a predetermined amount of time? Occasionally (between 25-50%)

INSPECTIONS AND WARRANTIES

1. Does the Procuring Entity have guidelines or protocols regulating inspections on the quality of the works? Yes Legal basis: Decree 06/2021/

2. According to the legal framework, is BidCo required to provide a guarantee upon completion of the works? Yes Legal basis: Decree 06/2021/ND- CP

3. If a post-completion guarantee is not required by law would it usually be requested in practice by the Procuring Entity for a contract like the one described in Section 1? Yes

4. In practice, which instrument of post-completion guarantee would the Procuring Entity most commonly request? Retention of the whole performance guarantee

5. In practice, how long after completion of the works is BidCo required to maintain the instrument you indicated above? 12-18 months Formal Challenges throughout the Procurement Process According to the legal framework, who has legal standing to challenge the contract award? Bidders Organizations/Individuals with legitimate interests (i.e. neighbors) Organizations that protect public goods (i.e. environment NGO)

Research – COVID-19 Recovery

In order to continue public procurement services and the implementation of contracts without interruption, has the economy introduced (or already had put in place) any measures? Full tender file digitized, but not on the cloud Full contract management documents digitized, but not on the cloud Different payment deadlines for SMEs Mobile payment system.

 

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