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Law 1882 of 2018: Standardized Specifications in Public Procurement Processes

On last January 15th the President enacted the Law 1882 of 2018 (“Law 1882”) which adds and modifies certain regulations in order to strengthen public procurement processes in Colombia.

Law 1882 seeks to increase as much as possible the plurality of participants, as well as transparency and competitiveness in public procurement processes. The foregoing, in order to avoid situations in which the same bidder ended up being awarded with State contracts because the procurement specifications were tailored to the possibilities and characteristics of said bidders, systematically violating the principles of transparency, objective selection and plurality of participants in public procurement.

Thus, the main purpose of the Law 1882 consist of the implementation of specifications which contain a series of standard conditions that bidders must meet to enter into State contracts. The foregoing, with the purpose of ensuring that the qualifying requirements, whether of a technical or financial nature, are fully met by the bidders, according to the type of procurement process as well as to the nature and value of the corresponding State contract. The adoption and use of the standard specifications is mandatory especially for the awarding of public works supervision and audit agreements, notwithstanding the possibility that the Government has to extend its scope of application to other contracts if considered necessary.

In spite of the critics arising from the Territorial Entities concerning the alleged restriction to their contractual autonomy, the standardized specifications certainly bring important advantages, since they increase the speed in bid preparation processes and the bidders know in advance the general conditions that they are expected to comply with. In addition, small engineering and infrastructure companies may have greater chances to grow since they will not be impaired by the pre-favourability and lack of transparency that characterized public procurement processes in the past.

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