M a r k e t N e w s

Tanzania: World Bank Defends Award of Sh14 Billion Tender

Posted on : Thursday, 18th August 2016

Dar es Salaam — The World Bank (WB) has defended the awarding of a Sh14 billion tender that was recently termed illegal by Public Procurement Appeals Authority (PPAA).
Through a loan agreement, the WB is funding a project for designing, supplying, installation and commissioning of Integrated Land Management Information Systems (ILMIS) which is under the supervision of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) through its Project Implementation Unit (PIU).
After a year of tendering and evaluation conducted using WB Procurement Guidelines, from February 2015 to April this year, the deal worth $6,623,600 (Sh13.9 billion) was clinched by M/s IGN France International JV. Aggrieved by the decision, a bid loser, Israeli-based firm M/s Sivan Designs D.S LTD, appealed to PPAA which ruled on June that the award was improper.
According a statement from WB country director Bella Bird, the responsibility for the implementation of the project, and therefore for the award and administration of contracts under the project, rests with the borrower.
The bank, she said, is required by its Articles of Agreement, to ensure that the proceeds of any loan are used only for the purposes for which it was granted, with due attention to considerations of the economy and efficiency and without regard to political or other non-economic influences or considerations. She noted:
"The World Bank reviews the documents prepared/recommendation made by the project Implementing Agency (IA) (in this case the PIU) at certain predetermined stages for the contracts above certain thresholds.
"Based on the information provided by the IA, after a thorough review, a no-objection to the documents/recommendation is provided by the WB if the same is found consistent with the provisions of the Financial Agreement, including the provisions of the bidding document as issued by the IA."
She explained that, if there are inconsistencies and deficiencies in the documents/recommendations, the WB gives comments requesting the IA to review the same and resubmit for further consideration with additional information if necessary.
If the revised submission addresses all the deficiencies and inconsistencies, she said, the WB provides a "No objection" so that the IA can proceed to the next step of the procurement process.
According to her, in this specific procurement in question, "the Bank followed the above stated process and in the end was fully satisfied with the documents and the recommendation as submitted by the IA."
The statement didn't counter the specific anomalies around the tender process raised by PPAA... in fact, Ms Bird didn't mention the Appeals Authority at all.
While the WB insisted that it was fully satisfied by documents submitted to it by PIU, the PPAA issued a different verdict, especially on the experience of the successful bidder.
All bidders were supposed to complete three projects, two of similar nature, and the value of each contract not less than $7 million. PPAA noted that their review of PIU Evaluation Report dated 5th January 2016 and noted that, the document indicated that the French company had successfully completed two projects; one in Uganda and another for modernisation of national base map amounting to $10 million in Benin.
"In reviewing the winning tenderer's conduct, the Uganda project is on record, but not the Benin one. The Appeals Authority (AA) couldn't establish the source of evaluators' information as it was not included in the successful tender," reads part of the ruling adding:
"The AA is of the view that, modernisation of national base map isn't the same as design of land management information system. Thus these projects are not similar in nature, and based on the facts, the AA is of the view that the proposed successful tenderer indeed did not comply with experience criterion as they did not have two contracts of similar nature and therefore ought to have been disqualified for lack of experience."
The ruling also noted that there was a series of recommendations and reviews by the WB to PIU between October 2015 and January 2016, but contrary to the local procurement law and regulations which clearly stipulates that for all donor funded projects an internal clearance is required before external clearance, PIU secured WB's "No Objection" on January 5, giving the PMO's Tender Board the leeway to approve the award on April 25.
Even if it deemed unlawful, PPAA couldn't quash the award of the tender citing Regulation 11(3) of GN 446, 2013 which gives external clearance an upper hand. "Unhappily the decision by the World Bank prevails," reads the ruling in part.
The WB guidelines makes it clear that once a tender is awarded and then a bidder wishes to ascertain the grounds on which his bid was not selected, he should address his request to the borrower.

"If the bidder is not satisfied with the written explanation given and wishes to seek a meeting with the Bank, he may do so by addressing the regional procurement manager, who will arrange a meeting at the appropriate level and with the relevant officials. The purpose of such a meeting would be only to discuss the complainant's bid, and not to reverse the Bank's position that has been conveyed to the Borrower, or to discuss the bids of other competitors," reads Section 15 of the guidelines. 

Source : allafrica.com
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