Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen's Public Procurement team has been running at 115% this year, according to NNDKP Partner and Co-Head of Public Procurement and PPP, Adina Chilim-Dumitriu. And she has reasons to be optimistic that the practice will continue to grow in the foreseeable future.
“It really is a focus on public procurement,” clarifies Chilim-Dumitriu. She explains: “In Romania, we don’t seem to be able to implement real PPP projects. Our firm was involved in all the PPPs launched last year in Romania but all were canceled with the change of the government. Our work, as a result, focuses mainly on classic public procurement.”
“Starting with February onwards a lot of projects were launched,” Chilim-Dumitriu reports. “What I noticed is that public procurement contract implementations – for old and new projects alike – has not only not stopped, but instead has been incentivized to continue during the lockdown.” She points to major infrastructure projects that were discussed less along “it is not safe to work” lines and more along “can we implement measures to continue working” lines. Talks addressed protective measures such as implementing shifts and protective gear, but the focus was on work continuing, Chilim-Dumitriu explained.
One particularly positive element that Chilim-Dumitriu points out which contributed to the momentum is that the Consiliul National de Solutionare a Contestatiilor (the National Council for Solving Complaints) continued its activities and judged all claims, even during the emergency stage.
Chilim-Dumitriu reports that most of the projects she and her team have been working on revolved around infrastructure projects -- primarily larger ones related to railways and motorways in the country. These were supplemented by several procedures regarding school manuals, as well as discussions about the potential relaunch of procedures for regional hospitals in the Romanian cities of Craiova, Cluj-Napoca, and Brasov. On top of it all, her team has worked on acquisitions ranging from ships for coastal defense, helicopters (also in the defense sector), and even medicines (including a recent deal involving Roche's sale of oncology drugs).
“I expect public procurement procedures to continue to be launched in the near future,” Chilim-Dumitriu notes, based on the “high need of infrastructure projects in the country, a need that can be met due to access to new EU funds – which I expect will not only continue to be available in the near future but even increase.”
Finally, Chilim-Dumitriu reports her sense that officials are highly motivated. “In the past," she says, "if ever there was a variation that would come up or an extension would be asked for, we’d see a lot of long talks without a real endpoint. Nowadays, everyone seems focused on moving forward. Sure, it is never irrespective of costs, but time extension talks, for example, seem to be very much open conversations that are goal-focused. As long as this attitude persists, I think we’re due to see a healthy pipeline of projects.”