The national electronic tool (NET) should be a comprehensive tool for handling all types of procurement processes under the Public Procurement Act (Act. 137/2006 Coll.) and the Concession Act (No. 139/2006 Coll.) Since 1 July, 2014, an open trial of NET has been under way and from 1 January, 2015, its use should be mandatory. 

It is still impossible to say much about the practical use of NET for public procurement since on top of the fact that the tool is only in its trial period, no legal regulations have been released on the transition to NET. From a practical perspective, we are still waiting to find out how private companies that program (individual) commercial electronic tools will connect these tools with NEI. Users,  and mandatory users in particular, have still to see whether they abandon the electronic instruments they have been using to date because NEI serves them better. This means that they will either need to resolve the issue of data transfer or find ways to connect NEI with their own tools. 

Contracting authorities, i.e. central state administrative bodies and their subordinate organisations, are mandatory users. Suppliers will, of course, also use the tool so the public can access information whose publication is legally required. 

NET has a key role to play in the digitalising of public tenders, making e-procurement more than a theoretical or voluntary matter. Electronic marketplaces for public administration, which have operated since 1 July, 2012, are the first target for mandatory digitalisation. We believe that the rise of these marketplaces is behind the growing use of commercial electronic tools. Both contracting authorities and contractual suppliers have needed to put aside their fears about modern communication technologies. 

It should be kept in mind that the duty to use the e-marketplace for public administration applies to central state administrative bodies and their subordinate organisations. It covers standard types of goods (e.g. office technical supplies and equipment, computers and data processing technology and furniture) and services (e.g. cleaning and maintenance) which are commissioned through basic, below-limit proceedings or small-scale public tenders. 

NET was developed as part of the NIPEZ project, a strategic effort to achieve smarter administration in the Czech Republic. The NIPEZ project is linked to other new developments such as data boxes and CZECH POINT, etc.  NET is, thus, central to the digitalising of public administration. 

Given NET’s launch for a transition period which is likely to be marked by increased investment in training, data transfer and other activities, we can expect a drop in procurement costs. In addition to costs, it is important to emphasise the transparency of the tendering environment,  and last but not least, the speeding up of procedures, which is greatly desired. NET should be a modern tool for the 21st-century information age. As such, its arrival should be welcomed even if, like all new things and processes, it comes with questions, complications and opposition.

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