Following the reforms introduced in the National Public Procurement System Law through the Organic Law Reforming the Organic Comprehensive Criminal Code of February 2021, whose provisions were to enter into force six months after the enactment of the reforms, the President of Ecuador has issued Executive Decree 155 – not yet published in the official register – through which he introduces reforms in the Regulations to the aforementioned law including a requirement to be met by public sector entities interested in carrying out procurement processes for works or services.
It is now mandatory to obtain, prior to the beginning of the procurement process, a Relevance Report issued by the Comptroller General of the State. This type of report (as well as a similar one from the Attorney General of the State) was already a requirement in our procurement system but was eliminated to allow for more streamlined processes.
The Relevance Report must be requested together with any requirements imposed by the Comptroller’s Office (not yet defined) and must be issued within the next fifteen working days; otherwise, a favorable report will be deemed to have been issued. According to the enacted decree, the report seeks to determine the relevance and favorability of the desired procurement, i.e., the coherence between the information provided regarding the need for the procurement and the compliance with the requirements set forth in the regulations. The decree specifies that the Comptroller’s Office is not expected to assess the usefulness or convenience of the procurement, nor any other management aspects that are the sole responsibility of the contracting public entity. Although the lawmakers’ desire for a formal requirement is appreciated, there is a risk that this may not occur in practice where the power granted by law to the regulator may well exceed the scope conferred upon it.
The Relevance Report will be required in most public procurement processes. The decree specifically establishes the processes where it will not be mandatory, including procurement by electronic catalog, complementary and modifying contracts and those excluded from the obligation to be governed by the relevant law.