Vatican economy secretariat issues regulations on new norms for awarding public contracts

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff

Fr. Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves. / Office of Communication Society of Jesus.

Vatican City, Jun 22, 2021 / 15:00 pm (CNA).

The Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy issued on Tuesday a set of regulations related to new norms for awarding public contracts unveiled by Pope Francis last year.

The regulations are contained in a decree signed by Fr. Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, S.J., the Pontifical Delegate and prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy.

The decree, consisting of 49 articles, concerns the pope’s apostolic letter, “Norms on transparency, control and competition in the procedures for awarding public contracts of the Holy See and Vatican City State,” dated May 19, 2020.

The apostolic letter, issued motu proprio (“on his own impulse”), outlined new procedures for awarding public contracts that aim to increase oversight and accountability, and ensure the Vatican and Holy See work only with vetted financial partners.

The decree says that the new regulations “apply to all purchases of services, supplies, and works.”

It states that “economic operators” under investigation for crimes are excluded “from participation in procedures for direct awarding of contracts and being registered in the list of authorized vendors.”

It rules that “subcontracting may be permitted to the maximum extent of 30% of the contract value.”

It also covers the procedures to be followed in cases of urgency.

Alongside the decree, the Secretariat for the Economy also released a 91-page document containing seven annexes to the new regulations, published on the website of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

A note introducing the decree and the annexes on the website said: “The choices made combine the need for operational efficiency with the highest standards of transparency and the principles of legality and fair competition.”

“This is, therefore, a further concrete step on the path of the Holy See’s economic reforms.”

ACI Stampa, CNA’s Italian-language news partner, noted that the decree does not extend to real estate transactions, which it said would be the subject of further regulations issued before the end of 2021.

Last October, Pope Francis named Cardinal Kevin Farrell president of a committee monitoring internal Vatican financial decisions which fall outside of the new accountability norms.

The five-member group is called the “Commission for Reserved Matters.”

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