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PUBLIC PROCUREMENTS IN TIMES OF PANDEMIC

We hope while you are reading these lines you and your family members are well, our hearts and thoughts go out to all those affected by the global pandemic, both directly and indirectly. In Arias, Alemán & Mora during these difficult times in history we wish to keep in contact with you, we keep working to provide the best service to our clients, and in the same manner, we guarantee the work of the employees who are part of our big family.

We would like to inform you that during the total quarantine declared because of the Covid-19 in the Republic of Panama, the governmental authorities approved Law 153 of May 8th, 2020, which reforms Law 22 of 2006, that regulates public procurement.

Among the new reforms, in a general way, we can list some positive aspects: it will lead to take all biddings and proposals to be digitalized, eliminating any type of physical proposals. The procedure called “Tender for Best Value with Separated Evaluation” which established the rule of hidden price was eliminated, this will generate more transparency in the country. An Appeal before the Administrative Court of Public Procurement was added, for cases in which a contractor is fined for delayed delivery, this figure did not exist before, so the contractors were forced to pay the fine or resort to lengthy processes before the Supreme Court, in addition, general documents that are issued by the national authorities and that can be electronically validated will not be required in the bidding conditions.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the rules for the presentation of claim actions against the bases of the bidding and the reports of the commissions that recommend the winner were changed, these rules toughen the possibility of presenting claims more than once, being Thus, the proponents who wish to contract with the State must have the best legal advice, so that they can assert their rights and report inconsistencies in public acts, also with the new Law the terms have been varied in the selection procedures.

The reforms introduced a significant number of changes to public procurements; therefore, it will be vital that those who are interested in being contractors of the Nation receive the proper guidance.

The Law will enter into force in September of this year, at which time those interested may update themselves. At Arias, Alemán & Mora we have lawyers with vast experience in advising our clients on their participation in tenders and contracts with the State. We remain at your disposal to provide you with our legal advisory.