The package adopted by the Belarusian Government on 31 March 2020 in connection with the consequences of COVID-19 included measures aimed at regulating legal aspects in the field of public procurement.

Under the general rule,[1] the parties to a public procurement contract cannot change the following terms of the contract: the subject of public procurement and contract requirements, volume (quantity), payment procedure, deadlines for execution of obligations by the supplier (contractor, service provider), contract price, liability of the parties for non-performance or improper contract performance.

Exceptions to the general rule were:

– justified inability of the supplier to perform the contract;

– 10% change in the scope of performance with a proportional change in the contract price;

– extending the deadlines for execution of supplier’s obligations on the initiative of the contracting authority, for example, if a change to construction solutions is necessary;

– contract price reduction without changing the level of performance;

– changes in the contract price due to changes in legislation or in regulated prices (tariffs).

By Resolution No. 186 of 31 March 2020 the Belarusian Council of Ministers expanded the list of exceptions. So changing the price of a public procurement contract is now possible where changes in the price of procured goods during the public procurement process cannot be foreseen. Changing the contract price is possible only for specific goods acquired or used for performing a public procurement contract: medicines, medical nutrition, medical devices and spare parts, foodstuffs, as well as raw materials, materials, or accessories used in producing these goods. The Resolution notes that when initiating a review of the price of a public procurement contract, the supplier (contractor, service provider) must justify and confirm the new price under the public procurement contract with an appropriate calculation.

[1] Enshrined in the first clause of article 25 of the Law On Public Procurement of Goods (Works, Services).