Costa Rica has been on the process of reforming the regulatory framework of public procurement.
As highlighted in the 2015 OECD Recommendation of the Council on Public Procurement, ensuring broad access to the public procurement market is essential to achieve value for money, as it promotes competition and creates a level playing field.
During the Phase 1 and 2, the OECD supported Costa Rica in analysing two technical elements of the regulatory framework that affect the competition level of a procurement system: i) the exceptions to competitive tendering, and ii) the threshold system in place. The OECD report, Enhancing the Use of Competitive Tendering in Costa Rica's Public Procurement System: Streamlining the exceptions and redesigning the threshold system, provided the options that Costa Rica could consider to reform the regulatory framework related to its exceptions and threshold system. It was used as a key input to prepare the draft of the new public procurement regulatory framework during the regulatory reform process.
In the Phase 3, the OECD supported Costa Rica in preparing the action plan for the following priority areas, identified by the different stakeholders as the most important for a sustainable public procurement system in the future:
- The institutional framework of the public procurement system;
- The strategic use of public procurement including green public procurement, SMEs development, innovation, and RBC;
- The professionalisation of the public procurement workforce;
- The participation of civil society in the public procurement system and;
- The control of the public procurement system with a focus on the ex-post controls operated by the CGR.
The OECD carried out the analysis based on the current public procurement regulatory framework and the draft of the new public procurement law, as well as the results of a survey carried out by the OECD, in February 2020, with different stakeholders (contracting authorities, private sector organisations and civil society organisations). The OECD also organised an open webinar on July 24, 2020, in which 500 people (the maximum capacity of the webinar) made registration. The OECD analysis provides key recommendations that Costa Rica could consider in preparing action plans to enhance public procurement system in the future.