Public procurement monitoring office blacklists 50 contractors and suppliersMore requests were filed this fiscal due to an amendment made made to the public procurement regulation, officials say.
The Public Procurement Monitoring Office has blacklisted 50 construction and supply firms as of the third quarter of the fiscal year, and several more will be added to the list in the months ahead, a senior official said.
The office, which monitors the performance of government contractors,had blacklisted 50 companies during the last fiscal. It received more requests to ban companies from securing government contracts in the future this year, due to amendments made to the public procurement regulation, officials said.
“More than 30 firms are under scrutiny after various government agencies asked them to be blacklisted,” said Rajesh Kumar Thapa, director of the office, told the Post. If those under scrutiny are also blacklisted, it will be the largest-ever blacklisting in a year. The highest number of firms blacklisted in a single fiscal year was recorded in 2017-18 when 52 firms faced action.
“As we still have a quarter left in the fiscal year, there is a possibility that more requests for blacklisting will be made,” said Thapa.
Thapa said that his office received more requests this year compared to the previous years because government offices recommended firms for blacklisting after their “sick contracts” were not extended even after the recent amendment to public procurement regulations paved the way for one last extension.
The ninth amendment to the regulation made in December allowed long-pending contracts to get a one-year extension provided that authorities considered it necessary. According to the Federation of Contractors’ Association of Nepal, over 2,000 such construction contracts have received extensions following the amendment.
One of the latest firms recommended to be being blacklisted is Omni Business Group. The group had received the government contract to supply medical goods, including personal protection equipment, N-95 masks, gloves and other medical equipment to fight the the Covid-19 pandemic.
On April 1, the Department of Health Services had scrapped its agreement with Omni citing its failure to supply adequate medical goods in the first batch of delivery. It had also cited Omni’’s inability to deliver goods on time.
The deal had landed in controversy after it was revealed that the company secured the contract despite quoting prices much higher than those quoted by other bidders.
Based on the recommendation of the government agency that procured construction equipment, goods and services, the procurement monitoring office blacklists a firm after giving them an opportunity to furnish clarifications.
The office, which last week sought clarification from Omni, has to decide on recommendations to blacklist within six months after receiving a request from the government firm concerned.
Ram Nirman Sewa, HM Builders and Kumbheshwor Nirman Sewa Private Limited are three firms that were blacklisted in April. Major firms blacklisted this year are: Pappu Construction and its joint venture Raman Construction, and Sunaula Khimti Construction Limited.