In the framework of the TACIS 1996 programme the European Commission and the Armenian authorities agreed to improve the operational safety of Medzamor nuclear power plant (MNPP) under a programme of on-site assistance and to launch a number of other projects to be financed by the European Community in the field of nuclear safety.
Under the on-site assistance programme, an EU NPP operator (Utility) would maintain a presence on-site at MNPP in order to assist the beneficiary, inter alia, in the identification and preparation of projects aimed at improving safety through the purchase of required safety-related equipment.
For other specific projects, EU contractors would carry out, for example, research, design or study work which, in some cases, would require the complementary supply of necessary equipment.
The Utility and contractors, in conjunction with the beneficiary/end user, would prepare the Technical Specifications required for the purchase of the identified equipment. These Technical Specifications would form the basis of a procurement procedure which would result in the purchase and delivery of the equipment financed from the TACIS funds.
The European Commission contracted the services of a Procurement Agent (PA) to manage the entire procurement procedure and carry out the activities described below to ensure the necessary transparency of the procurement procedure.
The tasks of the Procurement Agent were as follows:
Planning: On the basis of information to be provided by the Utility/Contractor and Beneficiary, the PA would prepare a Procurement Plan. The Procurement Plan comprised:
- Work-plan and organisational arrangements, to include all dates
- Milestones for availability of the Technical Specifications, Contract placement, equipment delivery, installation, acceptance and any other important dates.
- Cash flow projection
Preparation of the Tender: The PA was responsible for obtaining the Technical Specifications (TS) from the Utility/Contractor responsible for their preparation and ensuring that they have been endorsed by the Beneficiary, the EC and any other body involved in the TS endorsement such as TPEG or JRC.
The PA then had to propose to the EC the appropriate procurement procedure (Direct Agreement, Restricted Tender or Open Tender) with the corresponding justification, if derogation from standard EC tendering procedures was proposed.If relevant, the PA also had to prepare a short-list of potential suppliers based on a proposal from the Utility/Contractor.
The PA then had to prepare the Tender Dossier, including, inter alia, the commercial terms of purchasing, the payment and shipping conditions, etc.The Tender Dossier had to be submitted to the EC for final checking prior to launch of the tender procedure. Once endorsed by the EC services, the PA was required to launch the tender procedure, ensuring publication of the notice of invitation to tender according to EC rules and ensuring the distribution of the tender documents.
Tender Evaluation: The PA was responsible for the preparation and management of the tender opening session.The PA also obtained and commented on the Evaluation Criteria and composition of the Evaluation Committee proposed by the Utility/Contractor. Thereafter, the Utility/Contractor, with the Evaluation Committee, carried out separate technical and financial bid evaluations, according to EC regulations, and submitted reports after each step. The PA verified and commented on the evaluation report before submitting it to the EC for approval. (See also contract 26767).
Contract Signature: The PA was responsible for:
- Conducting negotiations according to the recommendations of the evaluation committee.
- Preparing contracts using standard EC documents and submitting a contract dossier to the EC.
- Ensuring all parties, including the beneficiary, were informed of the signature procedure and received the appropriate documentation in advance.
Acceptance/Payment: The PA acted as a paying agent for the EC by paying the suppliers from a special account opened for this purpose in accordance with the terms and conditions of the relevant supply contract. The PA had to:
- Obtain invoices from the suppliers along with other documents proving origin, quantity, quality and safe delivery to the final destination.
- Obtain from the End User and Utility/Contractor statements of conformity for interim and final payments to the supplier.
- Verify the correctness of all documents.
- Forward to EC all relevant information
- Make the relevant payments to the suppliers following approval of the invoice by the EC.