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News Article

CompraNet to Resume Operations Mid-August

By María José Goytia | Mon, 08/01/2022 - 10:03

The Ministry of Finance announced that CompraNet will resume its operations by mid-August, after it went offline for the past two weeks. The deficient operability of the federal government's procurement portal has raised concerns about a lack of transparency that could incite corruption.

On July 16, the Ministry of Finance reported that the operation of CompraNet, which the federal government uses to transparently procure goods and services, was suspended due to various technical failures in the infrastructure that hosts the site.

"Due to reasons beyond the institution's control, as of 4:00 p.m. on Friday, July 15, 2022, technical failures occurred in the infrastructure that hosts the CompraNet platform, thereby limiting its operation. Therefore, the use of this platform is temporarily suspended until further notice,” read a notice by the government.

In order to continue with procurement activities after CompraNet went dark, the Ministry of Finance authorized all federal agencies to carry out their contracting procedures in person.

Therefore, the National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI) called on the Ministry of Finance to reestablish the freely accessibly electronic system as soon as possible.

"One of the obligations of [public] agencies and entities is to publish and keep the information related to the contracting processes updated online," INAI said in a statement, adding that the return of face-to-face contracting opens the door for corruption.

A recent study by Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI) noted that, the Mexican government signs an average of 429 contracts daily during 2022, equivalent to an expenditure of MX$2.7 million (US$ 133,023) per minute. To date, the government spending registered in CompraNet amounts to MX$722 billion (US$35.57 billion).

Some commentators pointed out that CompraNet’s disabling occurred right before the federal government began to plan costly purchases for the main infrastructure projects of the López Obrador's administration, including the Mayan Train and the Interoceanic Corridor in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

Together with INAI and MCCI, several civil groups such as México Evalúa and COPARMEX, agree that the issue hampers transparency since the platform, operated by the Ministry of Public Administration, simplifies, modernizes and provides openness regarding the procurement processes of goods, services, leasing and public works of the government’s bodies.

CompraNet was created in 1996 when NAFTA entered into force. Its objective was to put an end to corruption in government procurement processes and provide certainty to the new North American trading partners. Twenty-six years after its creation, CompraNet faces its first serious failure.

CompraNet has been recognized by international organizations as a platform setting best practices concerning transparency. In 2012, the UN nominated it to receive the National Public Procurement System award.

After a call from President López Obrador to solve the issue, the Ministry of Finance informed that the system will be back in operation in approximately two weeks, after the required equipment has been obtained. "The platform that currently supports CompraNet was put into operation in 2010 and its physical infrastructure is overseen by the private company Bravo Solution. The platform is hosted on servers with features that are no longer available in the market. The required equipment will arrive in Mexico in the first three days of August," reported the finance ministry.

Analysts estimate that the system will be back to normal by mid-August, after the necessary information backups and tests are performed.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
El Economista, Forbes México, MVS, El Financiero, Infobae, El Universal
Photo by:   Pixabay
María José Goytia María José Goytia Journalist and Industry Analyst