Govt to amend procurement rules
A high-level government committee yesterday suggested 11 proposals for amending the procurement rules, including making it mandatory for foreign firms to form joint ventures with local bidders when it comes to fulfilling government procurement rules.
The recommendations were placed before the cabinet committee on purchase during a virtual meeting with Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in chair.
After the meeting, Kamal said it is a good proposal as the capacity of domestic contractors has improved a lot over the years.
"The proposal has already been widely discussed and will be finalised in the next meeting," Kamal said, adding that the objective is to increase the number of local contractors and improve their capacity.
Earlier, a five-member committee headed by Abdur Rouf Talukder, senior secretary of the finance ministry, prepared the amendment proposals.
"We usually prefer foreign firms rather than local ones in bidding for tenders but we want to gradually come out this attitude as the capacity of our domestic contractors has improved," Kamal told reporters.
However, local contractors are yet to develop the capacity needed for highly technical issues. "So only in those cases we will hire foreign firms through bidding," he said.
As per the recommendations, the procurement process will be implemented by local sub-contracting firms that will have to spend up to 20 per cent of the total estimated cost from their own funds.
In case of local purchases, the estimated costs must be mentioned in the bid.
In addition, the proposal suggests implementing a one-step and two-step envelop system for tenders in case of local procurement contracts worth more than Tk 50 crore.
As such, 80 per cent marks can be awarded in technical evaluation and in case of financial evaluation, about 20 per cent marks can be awarded, it said.
The recommendations also include making bidding mandatory for local tenders for government-funded purchases of ICT products and punishing contractors if they fail to implement such initiatives.
However, Planning Minister MA Mannan disagreed with some of the recommendations and his arguments were also placed in the cabinet committee meeting.
According to the planning minister's observation, the question is whether financial competition will be affected or not if the estimated cost is published before the call for tender.
In the case of one-step and two-step envelop tender methods, controversy may arise in giving marks by the evaluation committee.
Regarding the finance ministry's pressure to reduce the huge amount of subsidies on fertiliser, Kamal said there is always pressure on cost-saving or rationalisation as his ministry has to provide funds at the end of the day.
Earlier on Monday, Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said that due to rising prices in the international market, a subsidy of Tk 28,000 crore would be required for fertilisers in the ongoing fiscal year as the current budget allocation is only Tk 9,500 crore.
The finance ministry was putting pressure to reduce the subsidies, Razzaque said at a press conference.
When asked about his thoughts in this regard, Kamal said it is the finance ministry's responsibility to look after the people's money.
"So, we remain vigilant to ensure that there are no unnecessary costs. There is pressure on the ministry for this because if there is a shortage somewhere, we have to manage it," he added.