…repeated retendering gives the edge to preferred bidders, proves costly for others
The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, has in recent months repeatedly put out tenders inviting suppliers to provide a number of Steel Sheets for the budget agency under the Minis
Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha
The practice, however, is being frowned upon by several local contractors who are now alleging collusion on the part of the Ministry, since the practice is not only unethical but tantamount to corruption and should be considered illegal.
It was explained that each time the Ministry puts out a tender for a contract—many of which run into the hundreds of millions or billions—it would cost every person or company submitting a bid, hundreds of thousands of dollars for each bid submitted.
When the contract is opened at the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) and retendered, at least one contractor who spoke to this publication on the condition of anonymity explained that it is tantamount to the state agencies providing insider information to their preferred bidders.
This obtains since, after repeated retendering, the preferred bidders would be able to know the rates being charged by competitors and eventually be allowed to outbid the others.
It was noted too that when complaints are lodged requesting the rationale behind the refusal of a bid, these are often times brushed aside or met with vague answers.
One such recent “glaring” example, according to another contractor that this publication spoke with, relates to the supply of steel sheets for the NDIA.
The most recent opening for that retendered project was on September 14, last, when 12 companies and persons submitted bids for the supply of the steel sheets.
That round of bid opening saw variance in the bids submitted by in excess of $98M between the highest and lowest bids submitted.
An earlier round of bidding that was opened by the NPTAB in July 22, last for the supply of the tender saw a variation of some $253.2M between the highest and lowest bids submitted.
As it relates to the September round of bids submitted, Toolsie Persaud Limited provided a proposal for some $294.6M, General Marine Company’s bid was $306.2M, Gafsons Industry Limited submitted a bid for $292.8M while Dax Contracting Services gave a proposal to supply the steel sheets for some $259.3M.
Other bidders in that round of the tender opening, saw proposals from Brinco Shipping and Trading Company Limited for $245.3M, David Persaud Investments Limited for $210.8M, Silica Sand Post Inc., at $272.3M, Fix It Depot’s $275.3M, GSK Excavation Service Inc., came in at $208M, Samaroo Investments’ bid was $251.6M, S. Jagmohan Construction and General Supplies Inc. $219.6M and Yunas Civil Building and Construction Services $259.3M.
In the earlier round of bidding for the supply of the same steel sheets in July for the NDIA, Yunas Civil Building and Construction Services had submitted a bid of $183.7M, while Dax Contracting Services’ bid was $280.3M.
Samaroo Investments bid which was in that earlier round of bidding had submitted a bid for $281.2M, while Fix-It Depot submitted an offer of $277.5M, S. Jagmohan Construction and General Supplies Inc. at that time proposed supplying the materials for $254.1M, while Colin Talbot Contracting proposed an offer of $253.5M.
At the time, David Persaud Investments had proposed supplying the Steel Sheets to NDIA at a cost of $27.9M, some $253M less than the highest offer at the time.
NDIA under the Ministry of Agriculture subsequently retendered the project since none of the bidders had been selected leading to another round of bidding this past week.
This publication understands that the NDIA under the Ministry has already retendered this project on at least four occasions including in August last.
Another of the projects highlighted to this publication that has in recent months been repeatedly retendered includes the construction of two pump stations, a farm-to-market road, and some drainage infrastructure in Georgetown.
Additionally, another of the projects under the auspices of the Ministry that has been the subject of retenders is for the rehabilitation of 18 kilometers of the road at Ituni/Tacama.
The Agriculture Ministry is headed by Substantive Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, while the NDIA is headed by Lionel Wordsworth.