THE Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) has called for the re-tendering of the contract to refuel the Governmentâ€™s strategic reserves in Jinja. The contract was for supply of petrol and diesel worth $26m (sh44b) exclusive of tax through the Tanzania route.
According to the PPDA findings, there were many procurement irregularities and fraudulent practices in the tender.
The whole process from invitation of bids, the bid document, evaluation criteria and price adjustments made during the negotiations were flawed according to the procurement body. It was also established that the procurement method used was not approved by the Contracts Committee
Besides, the bidding document was only two-paged as opposed to the standard bidding documents which would ordinarily include technical and financial details of the company capacity to execute the assignment.
While it is understandable the ministry was trying to deal with an emergency following a revelation that the fuel reserves in Jinja were dry, it was important to follow the due process of law.
For instance, there was no evidence to ascertain the capacity of the company that won the bid to supply the fuel.
Previous investigations have also shown that there is rampant corruption in the procurement sector where suppliers are single sourced. This is because it denies the Government the chance to get the best deal out of other companies.
The fuel supply project is very sensitive and required spreading out the supply to avoid risk of non-compliance. Besides, PPDA regulations require open bidding for supplies of values exceeding $35,000 (sh59m).
Ministries should always plan their procurement needs in advance so that they are not restricted to only one firm whose price might be prohibitive and inflated.
Both the Parliamentary Committee and PPDA must be applauded for the oversight role in ensuring Ugandans get value for money in government transactions.
All the companies which have shown interest in the project should go through open competitive bidding. The domestic restricted bidding is prone to corruption.
Stick to open bidding