Despite Indigenous Businesspersons Association of Malawi’s (IBAM) request to suspend the National Competitive Bidding (NCB) tenders, the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has awarded contracts to companies owned by Malawians of Indian origin, NCB results have shown.
The development has further irked local business persons who are accusing the Corporation of flouting procurement procedures and for awarding contracts to foreign companies at the expense of indigenous business operators.
The local investors also claim that the “foreigners have scooped all Escom tenders” because of the better financial muscle they use to bribe Escom tender committee at the expense of poor Malawian companies who only promise to pay when the deal is done.”
“Escom officials are corrupt and have failed to listen to our grievances. We don’t need the favours, we need to be accountable and transparent and do the bidding process in the best interest of all business operators,” said one of the disgruntled local business operators.
In April this year, local businesses, through IBAM, asked Escom to detail the criteria it used to award the contracts to foreign companies.
“Much as we know that we cannot compete with the manufacturers in prices and other ratings, we will appreciate total transparency of the whole system.
“It is for this reason that IBAM would like to seek an audience with all concerned parties as copied in this letter to express its concerns and to be furnished with information on how Malawians failed to get through the process so that in the future we should be able to compete well.
“At the same time, we request that the process of awarding the contracts be paused until our views are considered,” said IBAM President Mike Mlombwa in a letter dated 29 April 2015 and addressed to Escom’s Chief Executive Officer and copied to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director, Chairperson of Escom’s Internal Procurement Committee and the Director of Public Procurement—ODPP.
IBAM issued the letter following reports that the Corporation was awarding contracts to foreign companies secretly.
He said no economy can grow by excluding any part of its people, and an economy that is not growing cannot integrate all of its citizens in a meaningful way.
Mlombwa asked government to intervene for justice and transparency to prevail in these tenders for the betterment of local business operators.
“This tendency of who has the money gets it all must stop. It’s high time government and policy makers came up with policies would support and enhance local businesses because they cannot externalize forex as the case with some foreign investors.
“We require policies that can meet the needs and advance the interests of all local investors in a sustainable manner. Its high time our economy was built on the full potential of all local investors and their enterprises by rolling out growth strategies targeting local indigenous businesses as it is done in other Africa countries like South Africa,” said Mlombwa.
According to bidding documents for the procurement of goods by NCB, tender—procurement reference NoESC330/NCB/G/FY2014-15 (Subject of Procurement: Supply and Delivery of Distribution Materials)—was issued on November 14 2014 and closed on December 5 2014 at14:00hrs.
While results for International Competitive Bidding(ICB) —procurement reference No ESC198/ICB/G/FY2013-14(Subject of Procurement: Supply and Delivery of Line Hardware and Accessories)—are not out.
According to sources, ICB results will be out once vetting process being done by the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) is concluded.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :