Freedom of Information Center of Armenia.

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A meeting took place with the journalists about the public procurement and allocation of grants to NGOs


 On April 26, the Freedom of Information Center organized an awareness meeting with journalists with the participation of RA Deputy Minister of Finance Mr. Avag Avanesyan and Head of the Procurement Policy Department of the Ministry Mr. Sergey Shahnazaryan within the framework of the Open Government Partnership.

The meeting with the journalists was also attended by the President of the Freedom of Information Center Ms. Shushan Doydoyan, the OGP-Armenia Coordinator of the Prime Minister's Office, Ms. Lilya Afrikyan, a contact person. The purpose of the meeting is to raise the level of awareness of the media representatives about the OGP initiative and the resulting commitments.

FOICA President Ms. Shushan Doydoyan noted that only with the help of journalists it is possible to inform the public about the reforms undertaken by Armenia within the framework of the OGP initiative. Ms. Doyodyan added: "We have identified two main problems. In recent years, the Ministry of Finance has been actively creating new electronic platforms that contain huge, many interesting and important documents on the procurement process, but unfortunately very few media outlets are interested in them, moreover, they do not use or analyze materials when preparing daily news. But here is another problem, our observations have shown that the data published on some platforms is not always complete, nor up-to-date for easy and accessible use. "The format of the published data does not allow journalists to compare documents, analyze the data or work with them," she said.

According to Mr. Avag Avanaseyan, the procurement system in Armenia is overstated. He noted that when comparing with other countries, which are considered advanced in terms of digital procurement system, it turns out that there are some processes that in many cases are not even digitized, and Armenia has already done it four or five years ago.

Deputy Minister Mr. Avanesyan stressed the need to update the new system, emphasizing the role of the journalistic community in this process, as journalists are the main "clients" who must say what information they want to get from the system, at what rate. "The less time journalists spend searching for information during the analysis, the more time will be spent on the analytical part, and the materials will be of better quality. "We expect journalists to continuously inform us what is wrong with the system, what they would like to add to the new platform,"Mr. Avanesyan was quoted as saying.

Mr. Sergey Shahnazaryan presented to the journalists the processes of the reform of the public procurement system in the context of OGP, a number of issues related to the grant allocation process to non-governmental organizations.

Mr. Shahnazaryan informed that in 2018-2020 the OGP made it a condition that the process of allocating grants to legal entities from the state budget should be regulated. The expert of the field presented to the journalists in detail what the grant is, how it is provided, what is its purpose, what problems and risks arise in these processes. The latter also presented the state procurement process, underlined the reforms aimed at more transparency and accountability of the sphere.

Mr. Sergey Shahnazaryan also spoke about the potential of electronic systems, their rapid updating, where it will be possible to create a complete database on the development of tenders, that is, to move from the paper version to the fully electronic one.

At the end of the meeting, the participants summarized the event through questions and answers.

The meeting was held with the support of the Open Government Partnership within the framework of the EU-funded "EU for Ethics for the Eastern Partnership" project.

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