The parliamentary Committee on National Security, Defence and Intelligence recommended the Parliament to adopt the draft law on defence procurement. The document was confirmed by the working group which was developing the draft for the repeated second voting in the Rada. The key amendments which were the most disputable are the following:
- To declassify the information about plans, content, scope, financing of contracts which have been already executed in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On State Defence Order”.
NAKO supported the previously suggested idea to introduce the specialized proximate order to declassify such documents. The order means that the Cabinet of Ministers launches the inter-agency expert commission which will review the contracts and decide which of them could be declassified without harm to national security. In our opinion, such an approach will be more reasonable as it allows to maintain the balance between transparency and secrecy. The Committee supported this version of the document. However, originally the draft law stipulated the deadline of 6 months: this is the period when the executed contracts had to be reviewed, and now this deadline has been removed.
- Powers of the National Defence and Security Council (NDSC) and the President of Ukraine as for who confirms the state customers' procurement plans.
The version supported by the Parliamentary Committee implies that the National Defence and Security Council coordinates and confirms the key indicators of the plan whereas the Committee confirms the three-year plan as such. Our analysts think that this amendment can cause certain disbalance of power between the Parliament, the government, and the President. It also can fail to comply with the checks-and-balances system which is written in the Constitution.
- As for procurement via international procurement agencies.
The names of selected specialized organizations were removed from the text of the document. Currently, the Cabinet of Ministers gets the power to decide on the list of organizations which will procure defence-related goods, services and works. However, our experts think that a clear instruction to definite international organizations in the Law would demonstrate Ukraine’s serious intentions as a reliable partner and allow avoiding possible complications and failures in this strategic capacity to cooperate with NATO and the US. Herewith, the Law has to come in force from 1 January 2021 if it is voted by Verkhovna Rada.
We express our gratitude to the MPs and all other participants of the legislative process who were actively working on the draft law, and we hope that the parliament will support this draft bill version. The Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee was actively involved in this process as the coordinator of civil society and expert community. One of the key benefits of the law is that it changes the legislation in defence procurement from Soviet to European on the system level. The draft law should minimize corruption risks in the defence sector. It ensures transparency of defence procurement procedures, considerably increases procurement transparency and provides efficient democratic control and oversight. This will guarantee that the public funds for procurement of defence-related works, goods and services will be used in a more efficient way. Photo credits to MP Maryana Bezugla.