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Lithuanian cultural agencies and NGOs call for changes to public procurement rules

Lietuvos nacionalinis dramos teatras
Tomo Urbelionio/BFL nuotr. / Lietuvos nacionalinis dramos teatras
Šaltinis: BNS
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Lithuanian cultural and non-governmental organizations have urged the authorities to change existing public procurement rules which currently are too complicated and are often compared to "a mine field."

At a Thursday press conference, representatives said that organizations with low turnovers are greatly burdened when buying low-value services - for example, articles - which is comparable to the administrative burden borne by large institutions and ministries. They also say that the existing rules do not work when services of particular authors are needed.

"Every author and artist is unique, and if Lukas Geniušas is the best performer of Chopin's preludes, we won’t invite and ask others, so we will just have to work around this whole public procurement procedure. As a government institution, we have to submit a precise creative programme with names to the ministry (of culture – BNS) a year in advance. I do so but when the time comes, I still have to go through the whole process for buying services of those artists," Rūta Prusevičiene, director general of the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society, said.

"I don’t know any other country in the European Union or in the world where such rules apply to NGOs, at least cultural NGOs. When someone in the ministry says that it's required by an EU directive, I know it's not true as there's no such directives. In Lithuania, they apply the strictest of the recommended versions which is never used elsewhere," Audronis Imbrasas of the Arts Printing House, a performing arts venue located Vilnius oldtown, said at the press conference.

"The public procurement system has to be changed. Just because of the paperwork, it's six times more difficult to get and use funds from Lithuania's budget  than get funds directly from the EU. It It is somehow easier to use Brussels money that doesn't require so much paperwork and is result-oriented. Nobody cares about results in Lithuania. Lithuanian state institutions in charge of public procurements are more preoccupied with correct paperwork," Martinas Žaltauskas, director of the Non-Governmental Organizations' Information and Support Centre, said.

Cultural representatives have already addressed the authorities asking them to to do something about the three-year-old problem. Letters have been sent to the parliament, government and president.

BNS
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