Parliament body questions choice of firms for security printing

Published On: February 19, 2020 08:05 AM NPT By: Sunil Sapkota

KATHMANDU, Feb 19: A parliamentary panel has raised questions over the eligibility of companies that have been proposed for setting up security printing facilities in Nepal. 

The two companies – INGroup of France and Germany’s Veridos – that have been proposed for setting up such a facility in Nepal are found to have experience only in the software aspect of such work, according to members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Representatives.

The PAC has concluded that both these companies were found ineligible for the task as they also lacked prior experience of producing polycarbonate and lacked the necessary hardware also. 

The PAC arrived at this conclusion after making preliminary researches and holding consultations with experts in security printing.

 After going through the company websites and seeking details about them through the agencies concerned in France and Germany, the PAC found that neither company possessed prior experience of producing bank notes. PAC members have expressed surprise over the decision of the company evaluation committee and the cabinet to endorse their proposals.

PAC Chairman Bharat Shah said they have invited the secretary at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the executive director of the Security Printing Center for discussions on Thursday.

Since the proposal of the company evaluation committee was itself found to be faulty, PAC members have called for investigations into the officials involved. There are suspicions that those doing the evaluation could have been influenced by some hidden benefits for themselves and their political masters.

The parliamentary committee has also questioned how this can be a government to government (G2G) deal when governments would not be directly involved and the proposal clearly states that the deal would be implemented under bank guarantee through an export credit agency. 

According to documents obtained by Republica, a proposal to this effect states that a loan would be secured to procure the printing facility but a government decision says that financial resources would be arranged through the Ministry of Finance. There is also no clarity on the interest rate and modality of payment.

Voicing suspicion that the contract was going to be awarded without open bidding in the name of a G2G deal, the parliamentary committee is seeking answers from ministry officials.

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