Acting Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin could take defense tenders under personal control in a measure to facilitate the signing of state contracts, the State Duma’s defense committee said Friday.
The Federal Service for Defense Contracts — the defense procurement watchdog overseen by the Defense Ministry — should report directly to Rogozin, who is in charge of the defense industry, the committee’s first deputy chairman Sergei Zhigarev told journalists, Interfax reported.
“Such an important service should be under direct control at the highest level: … the deputy head of the Cabinet,” Zhigarev said. This “will help solve the problems with missing deadlines to fulfill state defense contracts,” he said.
Among the main functions of the service are supervision of defense tenders, pricing and the quality of defense products.
Rogozin couldn’t be reached for comment Friday. The Defense Ministry declined to comment on the proposal.
Reassigning supervisory functions directly to a specific government official is unlikely to improve the situation with delays in signing defense contracts, which result from the Defense Ministry’s requirement to provide high-quality products and transparent prices, defense expert Igor Korotchenko said.
Given that the corruption level in defense procurement remains very high, reassigning those functions is unlikely to solve the problem of transparent pricing and efficient budget spending for defense needs, he said by telephone.
Having the Federal Service for Defense Contracts report directly to the Defense Ministry would make more sense, because the ministry is the end consumer of defense products and thus makes the final decision on whether they comply with quality standards, said Korotchenko, who is also editor-in-chief of Natsionalnaya Oborona (National Defense) magazine.
President Vladimir Putin said Thursday at a meeting on problems for the defense industry that the Defense Ministry had again failed to sign contracts with arms manufacturers on time.
Although the situation has improved compared with last year, more than one-third of the contracts have yet to be signed, Putin told the meeting.
Last year, the Defense Ministry failed to sign contracts in a timely manner due to disagreements with manufacturers on pricing, which resulted in a series of dismissals in the defense industry.
Rogozin, who participated in the meeting, proposed that the government’s military-industrial commission moderate price disputes between the Defense Ministry and manufacturers.
“We should solve the issue of a fair arbiter, which will hold talks on prices,” Rogozin said, adding that a detailed proposal will be sent to Putin in the near future.