Road division offices are not getting issue-specific suggestions from procurement monitoring officeProcurement monitoring office says it lacks officials with technical background to address the concerns of road division offices.
The divisional offices under the Department of Roads, which award most of the government contracts, are not getting issue-specific suggestions from the Public Procurement Monitoring Office these days.
Instead, officials at the department say they are getting a generic suggestion for the problems that they come across, which is to do things as per the law.
“For example, the ninth amendment to public procurement regulation allowed the government agencies to extend the deadline of sick contracts without any fine. But the question arises concerning those contractors who have paid the fine to get an extension to their contracts. In such a situation, the procurement monitoring office should explain,” an official at the department told the Post, requesting anonymity.
“If the procurement monitoring office fails to explain it precisely, it becomes difficult for the government agencies to make a decision,” the official added.
With government agencies complaining about getting vague suggestions from the procurement monitoring office, officials at the Public Procurement Monitoring Office complain about a lack of technical staff.
According to them, they are facing a shortage of technical staff from the beginning of the current fiscal year.
“Currently, we don’t have any technical staff. So, we are struggling to answer the queries of government agencies related to their procurements,” said Yagyaraj Koirala, the spokesperson for the procurement monitoring office.
Officials at the procurement monitoring office said they depend on outside experts to make recommendations to the government agencies when they face problems during the procurement process. “The process is time-consuming, which will delay the procurement itself,” said one official, who also requested anonymity.
The procurement monitoring office is responsible for preparing standard bidding documents. It also monitors whether any government agency adopted a due procedure to award contract, whether enough competition was ensured and whether the procurement process would ensure the quality of the works and goods. “For these tasks, we need technical staff to evaluate,” said the official.
The officials warned that any delay in the procurement process could affect the implementation of the development projects.
The office has over half a dozen posts for technical staff, including a joint secretary, a divisional engineer, four engineers of different backgrounds including civil, highway, irrigation among others, an architect, an undersecretary who oversees information technology and a few IT engineers.
As matters stand, the post of technical joint secretary has remained vacant since June last year. There is no presence of undersecretaries from technical background since the last three months, and even the section officer level technical staff aren’t available since the last one month after they were transferred to other government agencies.