Money

Report exposes irregularities

  • Public procurement
- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, KATHMANDU
Report exposes irregularities

Jan 10, 2015-

- The Saljhandi-Sandhikharka-Dhorpatan Road Project valued at Rs 1.31 million was broken up into five components even though contracts up to Rs 10 million can be awarded on the basis of tendering. The project failed to give a convincing explanation why it had divided the job. As per the Pubic Procurement Act (PPA), a public agency cannot break up a project to limit competition.

- Janakpur Municipality awarded a contract for PCC work with side drain and public toilet to Dhukuhu Construction Company after it bid 46 percent lower than the project’s estimated cost. The municipality had estimated a cost of Rs 9.41 million while the winning contractor had quoted Rs 4.45 million. During the tendering process, adequate information about the project was not given in the tender notice and no expression of interest notice was issued before the contract was signed. The municipality also did not use the standard bidding document.

These are a few instances of the anomalies occurring in public procurement identified in the annual report (2013-14) of the Public Procurement Monitoring Office (PPMO) which was submitted to the Prime Minister on Friday.

The report says that there is a tendency to divide a project into several portions in a bid to obtain extra benefits. Low bidding is another problem that results in poor implementation of the project, said the report.

In another anomaly pointed out by the report, sealed quotations were called without even giving seven days’ notice. As per the act, sealed quotations should be called before awarding a contract, but the purchase process had been moved ahead even though only two quotations were received.  

Some government agencies were found to have given just seven days for the contract agreement although it is necessary to give 15 days’ time as per the PPA.

Similarly, the department chief overseeing purchase was also found to have been appointed as the member secretary of the evaluation committee which is illegal, according to the report. PPMO Secretary Tankamani Sharma said that inadequate human resources, lack of expertise among the staff and failure to prepare the purchase plan and the specifications of the construction project on time were major problems in public procurement.

“In some purchase contracts, there has been intervention from higher levels, and in some cases, they have failed to pay adequate attention leaving incompetent junior staff in charge who are not able to reach a decision,” he said. Officials of public institutions have not been given full authority for purchase which means they cannot be held responsible for failures.

The report has also pointed to the capacity and business morality of the private sector. It says that most private sector companies have low technical and procedural capacity. They have a habit of taking on more work than they can handle and leaving jobs unfinished. “They have a tendency of low bidding and not maintaining the quality of their work,” stated the report.

Published: 10-01-2015 08:49

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