Lithuania rule changes to simplify PPPs

The Baltic state, which has seen a number of PPP deals advancing recently, is seeking to further accelerate its procurement process.

The Lithuanian government has approved amendments to the rules which govern the development and implementation of public-private partnerships (PPPs).

The new rules seek to simplify requirements when PPP projects are being prepared including new ways of drawing up and evaluating PPP documentation.

A timetable for the decision-making process has also been devised, with project owners now having to begin procurement procedures on a project within 120 days of obtaining government approval.

The period of time taken by the relevant authorities to assess and approve project documentation, such as questionnaires and tender documents, will also be fixed as a way of trying to improve the quality of documents submitted.

A statement from government agency Invest Lithuania makes the point that the improvements are being made on a solid foundation, with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development having already recognised the country’s regulatory and institutional framework for PPPs as following best international practice.

Reforms will also see the expansion of functions assigned to the country’s PPP Commission. Until now, the Commission’s sole function was to decide whether to submit a proposal to the government having evaluated the project’s viability.

From now on, the Commission will scrutinise the annual reports of already-contracted PPPs, submit proposals to the government regarding public-private cooperation and make appropriate offers to public authorities implementing PPPs.

Jonas Kimontas, deputy director of the project management department of Invest Lithuania, said “entities implementing PPPs will benefit from these new rules as the government will approve projects faster”.

In recent years, Lithuania has signed three Private Finance Initiative (PFI)-type contracts. It has four transport, public order and security projects going through procurement and up to 10 potential social infrastructure PPPs in the pipeline.