House of People MPs from the ruling party in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity explained that the reason why they oppose changes to Bosnia’s Public Procurement Law is that the current law in place is sufficient for the procurement of vaccines against COVID-19.
The House of Peoples failed to adopt changes to the Law on Public Procurement on Tuesday and the second round of the vote could not be completed because Deputy Chairman of the institution, Dragan Covic, did not attend the session.
The changes would have reportedly ensured an easier and quicker vaccine procurement process for Bosnia.
Nine MPs from Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) entity voted for the amendments, but there was no majority of MPs from the other semi-autonomous entity, RS, to pass the law because four MPs voted against it.
According to MP Lazar Prodanovic, from the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), the amendments are “unnecessary.”
He argued that the laws in place “have not prevented authorities from making progress in terms of vaccine procurement.”
SNSD members in the House of Representatives had, however, voted in favour of the amendments eight days before.
According to members of the party, they did not have time to discuss the issue due to the urgency of the matter before the House of Representatives vote.
Now, after discussing it, they are arguing that the law in place provides a sufficient framework for procuring vaccines and the problem is that the proposed changes would include an obligation for Republika Srpska to ask an institution of the state-level Council of Ministers for approval to import vaccines.
According to SNSD House of Peoples MP Dusanka Majkic, the narrative of Bosnia not managing to procure vaccines against COVID-19 due to the Public Procurement Law is only a way to justify the inaction of state institutions.
She mentioned that Bosnia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry never responded to an offer from Russia to sell the vaccines to BiH.
“The Russians said – here we are giving you vaccines, we will discuss the price later, we can deliver it any way you want. And the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Bisera Turkovic) did not respond. She doesn’t care,” Majkic said.
“We don’t need a law. The way it is going now, that’s how it will continue,” she said.
Republika Srpska has already procured Sputnik V vaccines from Russia.
“We are waiting to see whether FBiH will procure them through the same channel or set up its own channel,” she said.