OGP Summit on Good Practice Was Held With Poor Practice
The organizational costs for the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit in Tbilisi have amounted to at least 1.79 million GEL. The majority of these expenses were financed from the Government Reserve Fund, which goes against the purpose of the Reserve Fund, as well as the principles of good governance and OGP.
OGP enables government reformers to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive and accountable. As the chair country of OGP, Georgia hosted the Global Summit held throughout July 17-19, 2018. The organizational costs have been the following: the Ministry of Justice signed 60 contracts amounting to a total of 1 491 466 GEL, the Parliament signed 39 contracts amounting to a total 271 374 GEL, and the Tbilisi City Hall spent a total of 19 098 GEL.
The OGP initiative in Georgia is headed and coordinated by the Ministry of Justice. At least nine months prior to the Global Summit, the Government and Ministry of Justice were aware that they would be the chair country and the host country for the upcoming Global Summit. This is confirmed by the news published on September 21, 2017 on the official website of the Ministry of Justice:
„Tea Tsulukiani notified the members of the [OGP Steering] committee that next summer Georgia will be hosting the OGP Global Summit”
The state budget, including the final budget of the Ministry of Justice, was approved on December 2017. According to the law, the first draft of the budget is presented to the Parliament no later than October 1. Afterwards, there is a two-month period for making amendments. On November 30, the final version is presented to the Parliament. Therefore, there was a reasonable time period for the Ministry of Justice to include the organizational expenses of the Global Summit into its 2018 state budget.
In spite of the aforementioned, the Government allocated 1.66 million GEL from the Reserve Fund to the Ministry of Justice. According to the Budget Code of Georgia, funds are allocated from the Reserve Fund to cover expenditures that are not envisaged in the State Budget. As it has already been stated, the organizational costs for the Global Summit could have been included in the 2018 budget of the Ministry of Justice.
Allocating funds from the Reserve Fund for expected expenses is a bad practice in budget planning and goes against the purposes of the Reserve Fund. Moreover, the requirements outlined in the Law on Public Procurement does not cover the funds allocated from the Reserve Fund. Therefore, the contracts were not secured through the tender process.
The largest contracts out of the total 1 491 466 GEL spent by the Ministry of Justice are as following:
Type of Contract
Value of Contract
Ltd Mosaic Plus
469 616 ₾
Procurement of restaurant service
Ltd GMT Mtasminda
255 411 ₾
Procurement of gifts for guests
Ltd Mosaic Plus
137 300 ₾
Procurement of voiceover, conference and simultaneous translation systems
Ltd Conference Group
118 550 ₾
If the organizational expenses for the Summit were included in the budget of the Ministry of Justice, then a number of important and large procurements would be carried out through the tender process, which would enable a more competitive environment. In turn, this would provide the opportunity to cut costs and manage the funds more efficiently. Moreover, the information on the procurement contracts would be transparent and available electronically, which is a major principle of OGP.
The blog was prepared with the financial support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foriegn Affairs