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Government to establish Central Public Procurement Office

ZAGREB, Nov 12 (Hina) - The Croatian government on Thursday passed a regulation to establish a Central Public Procurement Office as part of its efforts to stamp out corruption in the public procurement sector.

The move is expected to save about 350 million kuna in the state budget annually.

The government accepted a bid from the Agrokor food concern to buy a majority stake in the Vupik agribusiness company.

Agrokor undertook to pay 30 million kuna for 87.98 per cent of the stock of the Vukovar-based company, cover 20 per cent of the mature liabilities towards state creditors (50-60 million kuna), keep on all the workers and ensure 25 per cent plus one share for them, and invest 430 million kuna over the next five years.

The Minister of Agriculture and President of the Croatian Privatisation Fund Managing Board, Petar Cobankovic, said that four bids had arrived, but that only two were valid -- Agrokor's and one jointly submitted by M SAN and Zito. He said that Agrokor's bid was better.

In the closed part of the meeting, a proposal was made to appoint Finance Minister Ivan Suker as president of the Supervisory Board of the oil company INA - Industrija Nafte, the government public relations office said in a statement.

Suker was relieved of his duties as a government representative in the INA Assembly and was replaced by Cobankovic.

A proposal was made to recall Supervisory Board members Damir Polancec and Vesna Orlandini and appoint Finance Minister Ivan Suker and Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Pankretic as new members of the Supervisory Board.

The government initiated the procedure for signing a loan agreement with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for development policy in the public and financial sector.