Rating of the largest government contracts in 2020: the total amount fell, the entry threshold increased
CNews Analytics has released another CNews Tenders rating, which includes the 100 largest government contracts of the last year in the ICT field (adjusted for the fact that the contracts of law enforcement agencies have ceased to be public, see the section “Non-transparency of procurement. Factors of 2020”).
The total amount of the 100 largest contracts concluded by government agencies and their subordinate organizations based on the results of federal open ICT purchases announced in 2020 and carried out according to the corresponding procedure provided for by law 44-FZ amounted to ₽104.48 billion. Thus, after almost twice growth of this indicator in the previous CNews Tenders rating, when the sum of the 100 largest contracts increased from ₽65.97 billion in 2018 to ₽148.08 billion in 2019, now we are dealing with a drop of ₽43.6 billion or by 29.4%.
However, despite the formal drop in the total amount of government orders in the CNews Tenders 2020 rating, CNews Analytics is still inclined to state a general trend towards the growth of large ICT government orders. Last year, the abrupt increase in the amount of the 100 largest orders (more than twice) was largely determined by the one-time mega-purchase of the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications, in which for each of 85 constituent entities of Russia a contractor was selected to connect to the data transmission network of medical assistant and educational organizations, government agencies, election commissions, fire departments, police stations and bodies of the Russian Guard.
The amount of contracts for it amounted to RUB50.86 billion. Formally, it was about 85 separate purchases. However, when forming the rating, we then decided to consider that this is one purchase with 85 lots. Otherwise, due to the scale of projects in most regions, these lots of the same type would occupy more than half of the lines in the final table, fundamentally distorting ideas about the nature of the largest government order in the reporting period.
Excluding this one-time mega-tender, the amount of purchases in CNews Tenders at the end of 2019 would have amounted to RUB97.22 billion, approximately 40% more than in 2018, and in 2020 the growth would have amounted to 7.5%.
The stated trend towards the growth of government ICT orders is indirectly confirmed by the data on the lower limit of the rating. If a year ago, to be included in the list of the 100 largest state purchases, the initial maximum contract price had to be at least ₽287.3 million, now the last line in the table is taken by a purchase with a starting price of a lot of ₽401.1 million. This is almost 40 percent the increase in the level of the lower bar became the most significant in the entire history of CNews Tenders.
Another argument in favor of the version of the consolidation of the state order in the IT sector can be considered the fact that a year earlier, when compiling the CNews Analytics rating, they had to resort to a record number of similar purchases from single suppliers in certain lines (that is, the rating absorbed a lot of “ additional ”purchases, not displaced by duplicates from its lower part). In the same year, the merger had to be carried out only once. As before, the number of such a consolidated purchase is marked with an asterisk in the table. The number in brackets after the name of the contractor indicates the number of combined contracts.
Some agreements with suppliers, as in previous years, were adjusted during the execution of contracts, and their amounts increased, sometimes exceeding the initial lot prices. Because of this, the table contains negative values in the penultimate column (“Savings, RUBmln”).
Taking into account the adjustments, the total savings of top government customers in 2020 amounted to ₽2.68 billion, that is, about 2.5% of the budget allocated for purchases in the amount of ₽107.16 billion. Excluding last year with a record 11% savings due to reductions in the aforementioned 85-lot mega-purchase, the savings in 2020 can be considered quite standard.
When preparing this study, CNews Analytics adhered to the sampling criteria of the previous three years. The list did not include tenders of security officials for the supply of special equipment, tenders of the Ministry of Industry and Trade for development work in the field of radio electronics, as well as narrow-profile large purchases of Roscosmos. They were not included, since they have nothing to do with the open competitive ICT market and would significantly distort the objective picture, taking many positions in the CNews Tenders list.
In the column “Direct customer” the subordinate FSUEs and other federal organizations are indicated – in those cases when the ministries and departments were not purchased directly. In the column “Losing competitors” – information about the outsider applicants, at least those of them who reached the final stage of the procedure, and were not removed or removed themselves in advance. Information about all the participants (and not just about the winners), their repeated combinations, the alternation of their roles (“won” – “lost”) or the absence of competitors as such is also interesting.
The seeming triumph of competitive order
The most popular type of procurement procedure in 2020 was again the auction – it accounted for almost half of the procedures – 48 (a year earlier – 42). The second place was taken by the format of the competition – 34 procedures (a year earlier – 25). But purchases from single suppliers were carried out by the largest government customers in 2020 much less frequently than in 2019 – 18 versus 33.
Thus, the number of formally competitive purchases in the new top 100 amounted to a record 82 procedures.
However, it would be premature to be happy about this. It is easy to see that there is a fair amount of empty cells in the “Losing Competitors” column of the table. The only applicants came to auctions and competitions 26 times. In this case, the customers by law have the right either to restart the tender, or to declare the purchase invalid, but to contract with the only participant whose application corresponds to the tender documentation.
The long-term practice of monitoring ICT public procurement shows that government agencies (as well as the companies with state participation that remained outside the scope of the study) are almost never inclined to the first option at large tenders.
Thus, it is easy to calculate that there were 44 real non-competitive purchases in the Top 100 for 2020.
Giant leap of FTS
From the point of view of spending on ICT, the unconditional first place belongs to the Federal Tax Service – the service, following the results of reporting tenders, concluded contracts for RUB 29.5 billion (a year earlier – RUB 17.64 billion). The second place belongs to the Treasury – ₽11.71 billion. The ministry closes the top three – ₽11.15 billion.
In terms of the number of top contracts, the places in the top three were distributed slightly differently. The Treasury has 20 of them, the Federal Tax Service has 19, and the Ministry of Digital Industry has six.
Top public sector suppliers
As in previous years, Rostelecom earned the most on state purchases included in the CNews Tenders rating. This company is present on 20 lines of the table. The sum of the top contracts received by the operator amounted to 28.64 billion rubles.
In second place is controlled Sergey Matsotsky the Rubitech company with four contracts worth 12.3 billion rubles. This result was largely determined by the victory in the nine billion dollar auction (competitive, which is typical) of the Federal Tax Service; ranked first.
In third place is the contractor GNIVTs, which is very popular with the Federal Tax Service, with eight contracts for ₽8.96 billion. In fourth place is Force, with four contracts for ₽3.64 billion. It closes the top five OTR with seven contracts for ₽3.38 billion.
Non-transparency of procurement. Factors of 2020
Recall that since 2019, CNews Tenders has been formed in new conditions, characterized by the departure of part of information about public procurement from the public field, since since January 1, 2018, law enforcement agencies (the Ministry of Defense, the FSB and the Foreign Intelligence Service) began to conduct purchases in order to protect against Western sanctions in a closed mode.
The next blow to the openness of the state order was the retreat of purchases from single suppliers. In accordance with the adopted amendments to the procurement legislation for government agencies (44-FZ), from July 31, 2019 for ministries and departments, the obligation to publish notices about them on the public procurement website was canceled.
As a result, information about such purchases appears in the register of contracts only a few months after their conclusion. Keyword search in the registry has improved lately, but not perfect yet.
Accountable for the new ranking under review, 2020 has been marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the period of the fight against coronavirus infection, government agencies in the spring of 2020 received temporary permission from the Ministry of Finance to conduct almost any of their purchases in a non-competitive way from sole suppliers. In the wording of the department, the pandemic was taken into account as a force majeure when considering cases in the field of public procurement.
Oddly enough, in the field of ICT, large state customers did not begin to use this right en masse. In particular, according to the “Marker” service of the “Interfax” agency, in April 2020, in the IT sector, the volume of “emergency purchases” for March-April 2020 was made up only RUB1.7 billion (we are not talking about large orders, but about everything in general). So the coronavirus did not become a significant factor in the “opacity”.