Local businesspersons, who participated in the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) tenders in December 2014 and January 2015, are accusing the Corporation of flouting procurement procedures and for awarding contracts to foreign companies at the expense of indigenous business operators.
Through the Indigenous Businesspersons Association of Malawi (IBAM), the businesspersons are also asking Escom to detail the criteria it has 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.
According to Mlombwa, IBAM has been getting pressure from its members over reports that the utility service provider is awarding contracts to foreign companies in bits.
According to bidding documents for the procurement of goods by national competitive bidding (NCB), tender—procurement reference No ESC330/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 at 14:00hrs while the other one—procurement reference No ESC198/ICB/G/FY2013-14 (Subject of Procurement: Supply and Delivery of Line Hardware and Accessories)—was issued on 30 September 2014 and bidding period elapsed on 13 January 2015.
“We are asking Escom to release the results of the tenders as per requirement of the procurement procedures. Escom is not doing any justice to our members by sitting the on the results.
“It is painful not know the results considering that we money was involved in bids bonds and Escom is not forthcoming with the results. Competition was not fair as local suppliers competed with foreign manufacturers; instead of giving preference to locals, Escom is awarding the contracts mutely to foreign companies,” alleged one IBAM member who asked for anonymity.
According to sources, the contracts to supply Lot 1A and Lot 1B Transformers 11kva have been awarded to Shandong Machinery (of China) and Johac Helis, respectively.
Both Escom’s Public Relations Manager Kitty Chingota and Senior Procurement Officer—Distribution Emmillius K.V. Kandapo could not pick their phones in an attempt to get the Corporation’s side of the story.
Mlombwa has since asked for government’s intervention so that “justice and transparency” should prevail in these tenders for the betterment of local business operators.
He has since asked government and policy makers to come up with schemes aimed to realize the country’s economic potential while helping to bring local business operators in the economic mainstream.
“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 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,” asserted Mlombwa.
According to him, 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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :