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VICTORY FOR EIPA IN E300M TENDER DISPUTE

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MBABANE – EIPA’s evaluation committee’s decision to reject one of the bids for the supply and installation of electronic systems in the proposed multi-million Emalangeni project of Kellogg’s Tolaram Factory has been upheld.


One of the prospective tenderers, Slomoes Corporation which is based in Mbabane, had applied to the Independent Review Committee (IRC) for a review following the rejection of its bid. The latter has since dismissed the application, as per information shared on the Eswatini Public Procurement Regulatory Agency (ESPPRA) website. The dispute emanated from a tender advertised by the Eswatini Investment Promotion Authority (EIPA). 


The tender was captioned ‘Proposed construction of the Kellogg’s Teloram Factory Matsapha- Electronics Installation (Nominated Subcontract)’.


Tender


In a nutshell, the tender was for the supply and installation of electronic systems in the proposed multi-million Emalangeni project of a Kellogg’s Tolaram Factory.


In response to the tender invitation, three companies reportedly duly expressed their interest to carry out the works spelt out. They were identified as Destiny Group (Pty) Ltd, Engineered Systems Solutions and the applicant.
On opening of the bid documents from the various companies, the applicant’s tender document was found to be not responsive (compliant) on the ground that the Slomoes had reportedly left a whole section, namely Section  6 on the Bill of Quantities, not priced.
The applicant was, as a result, disqualified. Dissatisfied with the decision, the latter invoked provisions of Section 47 of the Procurement Act, which essentially is an internal review to the procuring entity (which in this case was EIPA).


Unsuccessful


The applicant was unsuccessful in the bid to overturn the decision. In line with provisions of Section 49 of the Procurement Act, 2011, the applicant approached the IRC for a review of the controlling officer’s decision of declining to entertain its complaint.
The first sitting of the IRC was last month at Eswatini Public Procurement Regulatory Agency (ESPPRA) boardroom. One of the grounds for review, as per the applicant, was that the decision to reject its tender was irregular and unprocedural.


“The provision does not preclude tenderers bearing incomplete schedule. It is therefore in our firm view that our tender was not supposed to be rejected/disqualified based on the assertions that Bill 6 was not priced,” reads a submission reportedly made by the applicant.
The IRC found that by writing to the applicant and asking, it to attend to Section 6 of the Bill of quantities, the procuring entity was clarifying that it was mandatory and had to be completed.


Charging


“If the applicant had chosen not to charge for Section 6, namely the audio visual system, then it should have expressly and in writing stated its response to the procuring entity that it was not charging for the installation of and labour in respect of the audio visual system.
“As a matter of fact, the applicant should have included item 6 in its bill of quantities but write ‘nil’ in all the components of this item,” observed the IRC.
Having considered the written grounds advanced on behalf of the applicant for the rejection of its bid by the respondent and the respective submissions, the IRC concluded that the applicants’ bid was lawfully and properly rejected by the evaluation committee appointed by EIPA.    


Meanwhile, early this year Minister of Commerce Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo apologised to Parliament for his ministry’s failure to follow budget procedures when commissioning the construction of the E220 million factory shell, which will accommodate the Kellogg’s Tolaram Eswatini.


Procedures


This comes after Members of Parliament had indicated their unhappiness that government had already committed itself to finance the project, which was not budgeted for or approved by the legislators. Some MPs went to the extent of threatening not to pass the budget allocation for the project. The minister, in his preamble of the annual performance report, noted that there had been a lot of public interest regarding the ministry’s capital projects, which he said was their right.

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