Savior turns destroyer in government procurement

Zahid Hussain
Zahid Hussain
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In the tender process of government procurement, information is leaked to known and influential people, violating the rules and regulations. As a result, skilled contractors do not get the job. The jobs are given to the influential people, instead. The chances of such irregularities are high as there is more and less 10 per cent tariff gap on estimated official tender prices in the public procurement act.

In the past, there was a trend to snatch tender boxes. The e-GP (e-Government Procurement) system was introduced to stop this. Now, contractors can bid online on e-GP. But because of the 'price cap', the influential people get more work. Those who pay 10 per cent less than the official rate are not getting jobs. The e-GP system is failing to serve the purposes.

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There is also a problem in determining the official rates . Sometimes, the rates are fixed abnormally. If, for instance, the market price of a product is Tk 100, the official price of the product is set at Tk 500. If the official price is secretly informed to the preferred contractor earlier, the contractor bids some amount around Tk 500 while a skilled contractor would naturally bid Tk 100 which is close to the market price.

Consequently, the efficient contractors are kicked out of the race. That is why the authorities have to buy products or services at higher prices from the influential bidders. This is how the cost of the project is increasing and the desired results cannot be achieved. This system is increasing the debt burden on future generations.

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E-GP is of the highest quality and perfect bidding system, but that is only on paper. Its proper execution is not guaranteed. Such a standard system is collapsing as some selected and influential contractors are getting work with the help of some government officials. The whole system is falling apart. Those who have to implement the law are violating it. It is as if in government procurement, the savior has turned destroyer.

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