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Public Bidding For Lease/Use of State-Owned Agricultural Land Exclusively Via Web Application

Public Bidding For Lease/Use of State-Owned Agricultural Land Exclusively Via Web Application

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The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Water Management of the Republic of Serbia introduced the newest amendments of the Rulebook on Conditions and Procedure for Public Bidding for Lease/Use of State Owned Agricultural Land, which came into force on 24 June 2021.

Partner Ivan Petrovic and Senior Associate Marija Vukcevic, comment on the most notable novelty of the latest amendments of the Rulebook – complete elimination of regular „old-school“ public bidding. From now on, natural and legal persons registered as agricultural holdings, being the subjects entitled to participate in respective public biddings, can participate in public biddings only electronically through the new web application.

Since the participants in public biddings for lease/use of agricultural land are agricultural holdings/subjects and not subjects who come from sectors more focused on digital/electronic environment of doing business, it is left to be seen whether the effects of the latest amendments of the Rulebook are going to be positive or negative for the bidders.

The previous version of the Rulebook prescribed two possible manners for conducting the public bidding for lease/use of state-owned agricultural land –  regular – „old-school“ public bidding that requires physical presence, and e-public bidding that is conducted through web application provided by the Administration for Agricultural Land.

The most notable novelty of the latest amendments of the Rulebook is the complete elimination of regular „old-school“ public bidding. From now on, natural and legal persons registered as agricultural holdings, being the subjects entitled to participate in respective public biddings, can participate in public biddings only electronically through a mentioned web application.

The trend of conducting administrative procedures through electronic means is welcomed and ongoing in Serbia for a while now, and especially since 2018 when the Law on Electronic Administration (“Official Gazette of RS“, no. 27/2018) was introduced. However, the main idea of this law was to provide for yet another possibility in realization of one’s rights before the administrative bodies, which assumes the choice of a subject at hand. It was never prescribed that existing procedures that assume personal „face-to-face“ contact should be completely replaced by e-procedures and subjects deprived of the possibility to take part in these procedures physically – „in person“.

Having this in mind, it stands to question the latest amendments of the Rulebook, especially from the perspective of interested subject – since the participants in public biddings for lease/use of agricultural land are agricultural holdings/subjects and not subjects who come from sectors more focused on digital/electronic environment of doing business – it is left to be seen whether the effects of the latest amendments of the Rulebook are going to be positive or negative for the bidders.

By Ivan Petrovic, Partner and Marija Vukcevic, Senior Associate, JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic