As local entrepenuers are still pressing for fair competition bidding in tenders, the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has argued that the Indigenous Businesspersons of Association of Malawi (IBAM) has no mandate to review procurement procedures being followed by the utility body.
Escom has, however, advised IBAM to channel their concerns over Public Procurement Act’s deficiencies to the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP).
IBAM wrote Escom on June 10 2015 seeking to review procurement procedures being followed the Corporation and other government departments.
President of IBAM, Mike Mlombwa stated that review meetings may help address a number of queries being raised by the public against some of the government departments.
Initially, IBAM members have been accusing Escom flouting procurement procures and that its officials demand hefty upfront commissions from the bidders and this conduct disadvantage local investors as businesses of Malawians or Indian origin have got an urge over indigenous business operators.
IBAM then penned Escom seeking an audience with the Corporations Chief Executive Officer, Procurement Team and other Senior Officers in the quest for fair competition from the utility service provider.
“Following a number of complains that IBAM has been receiving from its members and other stakeholders on public procurement issues, we have decided to carry out a review of procurement procedures which are being followed by Public Institutions and government parastatals.
“Your Corporation has therefore been chosen as one of the first institutions that IBAM would like to visit. You will understand that this process will also help to maintain your good image in procurement practices despite what the public and the media have been speculating against your procedures,” reads the letter in part.
The letter further says the outcome of the review meetings may have cleared Escom’s image from the public on procurement procedures.
However, the Corporation responded—in a letter dated 12 June 2015 and signed by a Mr. J.M.K Banda—that procurement procedures in Escom are governed by the law and its subsidiary legislations.
Banda also observed that IBAM has no mandate to review the Corporation’s procurement procedures.
“The Business Community can propose review of procurement procedures through the responsible office that is mandated by the law, the Office of Director of Public Procurement.
“Review of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) or Desk Instructions is the mandate of the administrator of PPA and recommended promulgation of procurement regulations among others is the office of the Director of Public Procurement, Section 4 and 43 of the Act,” explained Banda in letter sourced by Nyasa Times.
But speaking in an interview Thursday, Mlombwa wondered why Escom do not communicate to the unsuccessful bidders the grounds for the rejection of their applications.
“If they are governed by the laws, then why Escom sit on the results when other procuring entities do place the results for both unsuccessful and successful bidders in the daily papers.
“We therefore ask Escom to publicize the results the International Competitive Bidding and National Competitive Bidding. Our members would also like to know the criteria you use to award contracts to foreign companies,” said Mlombwa.
The tenders in question are NCB—Reference No ESC330/NCB/G/FY2014-15 and ICB—Reference No ESC198/ICB/G/FY2013-14.
He then reiterated that government—through the ministry of trade and industry—should considers local investors by putting in place deliberate policies that would see them getting more support by being given contracts through fair competitions.
“The Act prescribes preferences for local bidders, but the ODPP, in their wisdom, choose not to follow that.
“We need economic empowerment policies that would see local investors dominating in these bidding processes,; We ask government through the minister of trade and technocrats and the ODPP review the Act so as to deal with the deficiencies we are experiencing,” said Mlombwa.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :