Fatigue explodes in private companies due to the flood of contracts from the Administration to the public sector

Fatigue explodes in private companies due to the flood of contracts from the Administration to the public sector
Fatigue explodes in private companies due to the flood of contracts from the Administration to the public sector

In a cartoon much celebrated on the Internet, used to point out when two ideas or entities are very similar, two Spidermen point at each other. Something similar has happened in recent years in the face of a veritable avalanche of contracts from the State, autonomous communities and local administrations to their own public companies, in the midst of the landing of Next Generation European funds.

From 2021 to 2022, the use of own resources by administrations, that is, the use of public capital companies, grew by 77%: from 1,888 to 3,346 orders, according to data from the Independent Office for Regulation and Supervision of Procurement (OIReScon). And the amount shot up 350%, going from 589 million to 2,631. The figures clash with those recorded, for example, in 2018, when only commissions from its own media worth three million euros were published. An increase that, in five years, is around 87,600%.

«What lies beneath is a fallacy, a supposed savings in deadlines. “I would like to see if there really is,” they explain to El Debate from the Association of Consulting Engineers of Andalusia (Asica). “And, in terms of costs, I guarantee that the public rates are higher than the tender prices, between 40 or 50% more than a private offer in the case of Ineco,” says the president of Asica, Ignacio Sánchez de Mora and Andrés.

The private sector has been denouncing the growing recourse to its own resources by the Administration for years. In 2022, the autonomies were the organization that carried out the most orders for their own media, 1,479, 44.20%. The State followed, with 1,209, 36.13%, and local entities, with 658, the remaining 19.67%.

The straw that has broken the camel’s back in recent weeks has been the possibility that it was the public company Ineco that was awarded the project for a million-dollar bridge in Seville, something that the Government delegate in Seville has specified in recent days. Andalusia, Pedro Fernández, has not yet decided. Between 2018 and 2023, the public engineering company, dependent on Transportation, has increased more than 60% of its turnovergoing from 273.79 million to 442.48.

“An irresponsibility”

It rains, in any case, it is wet. In February, the National Construction Confederation already questioned the abuse of recourse to own resources, “a true irresponsibility that eliminates the principle of free competition and capacity and leads to the dissolution or bankruptcy of thousands of small companies in the sector.” and medium. Now, the CEOE has brought the situation to the European Commission, in a letter, reported by El Confidencial, addressed to the competition commissioner, Thierry Breton. In the letter, to which El Debate has had access, the employers regret the abuse of a figure, the recourse to their own resources, which according to the legislation should be limited to exceptional cases.

«The Court of Auditors has not stopped warning. Also the CNMC, and the OIReScon. And nothing happens,” laments Sánchez de Mora. For this reason, Asica is preparing, with the collaboration of two professors, an authoritative opinion that will be presented in Brussels to address the cataract of contracts with the public sector, which the Executive justifies by the urgency of releasing Next Generation European funds before of the August 2026 deadline.

At the same time, the sector is experiencing a decline in investment in infrastructure, which is still far from the levels reached before the financial crisis. Specifically, 65% below, as highlighted this Monday by the association of infrastructure construction companies and concessionaires, Seopan. Its president, Julián Núñez, stated that what is essential now “is to be able to spend every last euro of European funds”, something that is doubtful with the current deadlines.

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