KATHMANDU, June 10: Bowing to construction entrepreneurs, the government has revised Public Procurement Rules (seventh amendment), less than a month after it was introduced. The fresh revision has addressed most of the demands placed by the construction entrepreneurs.
The government took the decision after construction entrepreneurs threatened to boycott all public contracts and hand over key of their offices to the government agencies from mid-July.
The fresh revision made on June 6, among others, has removed a provision to calculate bidding capacity -- average best turnover of the past five years multiplied by four -- which aimed at ending the malpractice of contractors remaining idle after receiving mobilization fund. The provision had instigated construction entrepreneurs, prompting Federation of Construction Associations of Nepal (FCAN) to threaten of boycotting public contracts.
Though the contractors had demanded with the government to ease the criteria for calculating bidding capacity, the government chose to remove it altogether to the surprise of the contractor community. Many contractors say that the provision was removed to serve the vested interest of ‘big’ construction companies.
The government has also removed a provision that bars construction companies and suppliers from bidding public contracts if its promoters are charged with corruption in a court of law. But a sub-clause in the rule allows government officials to disqualify such companies in the tender evaluation process.
Similarly, the fresh revision allows contractors to seek extension of a year for contracts that have already missed deadline. It was one of the major demands placed by the contractors.
According to the fresh revision, secretary of the concerned ministry can extend deadline of the contract only on the ground that the project will be completed within a year.
FCAN President Rabi Singh has welcomed the fresh revision in the rule. “As almost half of our demands have been addressed, we have decided to withdraw all our protest programs,” he said, adding that the decision to extend deadline of outstanding contracts by one year should have been ‘on ground of technical assessments’. “We had asked the government to remove a provision that bars contractors from participating in public tender if any project manager recommends blacklisting them to Public Procurement Monitoring Office. But it has not been addressed.”
He also charged that the government dragged its feet in implementation of bid capacity provision guided by vested interests of some people.
Yakshya Karki, former president of FCAN, said that the removal of the bid capacity provision, which was one of our major demands, will not solve the problem of contractors holding projects without doing anything.