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MBABANE – The multi-million Ministry of Education and Training tender for the printing, packaging and delivery of pupils’ exercise books and stationery packs for all public primary schools in eight sub regions in December 2017 has gone for re-tender.

New tender invitations have been issued by the ministry calling upon stationery suppliers to submit applications to supply and deliver pupils’ stationery sets for public primary schools only.
Printers have also been invited to print and deliver exercise books.

This tender invitation published on May 12 is contrary to the initial tender advertised on April 11, which had combined both the supply of stationery sets and printing of exercise books.
When the first expression of interest was issued the tender opening was slated for today.

However, with the advent of the new tender invitations, the deadline for submission has been postponed to June 1, 2017.
Previously, the tender was valued at over E10 million. It could not be established what had been budgeted for the supply and delivery of both exercise books and stationery sets this year.

However, based on the fact that the inflation has risen to seven per cent, the cost of undertaking the same exercise is forecasted to increase on the basis that inflation hikes drive up prices.

When sought for comment, Principal Secretary (PS) at the Ministry of Education Pat Muir could only say: “After all, printing and supply of stationery are two different things,” before requesting to be contacted later since he was currently at a function.
When contacted at 1:04 for a follow up comment, he phone rang unanswered.

It should be noted that the Swaziland Stationery Association (SSA) has previously engaged the ministry with a view to have the tender divided into two categories.
This was meant to give both printers and stationery suppliers a fair chance at tendering.
Further justifying that the tender price could hike from the previously reported E10 million was the fact government also recently allowed businesses that had been awarded tenders late to submit price increase requests. Federation of the Swaziland Business Community (FESBC) Vice- President Hezekiel Mabuza expressed joy in that government has finally granted them their wish to submit new prices for tenders whose prices quotations had been overtaken by events and market prices.
He explained that their request was on the basis that changes in the economy had influenced prices to change. Therefore, it would have been folly to continue supplying the tenders for items at the same prices because this would effectively attract more costs for their businesses.
“Supplying government at the same prices would have attracted losses for businesses,” said Mabuza.              

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