Saturday, December 3, 2011

As Usual: CNG buses tender goes to 6th lowest bidder

The Punjab government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), to supply 575 CNG air conditioned buses to the citizens, with a financial bidder who was at the sixth position, rejecting five other bidders, official documents of the bidding revealed. 

According to official documents available with The News, the Lahore Transport Company (LTC) - owned by the Punjab government and registered under section 42 of Companies Ordinance 1984 - has awarded the tender to a Chinese firm, Anhul Ankai, whose bid was the sixth lowest. The Company ignored other bidders ready to supply the buses on much lesser price than the firm. 

According to the documents, the successful company demanded a price of $75653 for a bus whereas the lowest bidder was Shanghai Sunlong bus Co Ltd which demanded $62490 for a bus. Among other bidders, Plum Qingqi Motors Ltd/XIAMEN Golden Dragon Bus Company Ltd was the second lowest financial bidder with the bid money of $67450 per bus; Norinco Motors/Yutong was the third lowest financial bidder with a bid price of $68350 per bus; and Zhongtong Bus Holding Company of was the fourth lowest financial bidder with bid price of $69375 per bus. However, this bidder filled two bids and its lowest bid was $60375 per bus. 

Interestingly, the LTC gave the tender to Anhul Ankai, signing a MoU to bring 575 buses in Lahore city, ignoring all other bidders. 

When contacted, political advisor to Punjab chief minister and LTC chairman Khawaja Ahmad Hassan, told The News that tender was awarded on the basis of evaluation marks, including financial and technical bids and five year maintenance costs of these buses. He said financial bid was the one aspect of the process while other matters were also equally important to award tender. However, he refused to tell the details of the grounds on which the lowest financial bidders were rejected, saying that this could not be told off hand without seeing the documents in details. 

On the condition of anonymity, the representatives of a company participating in the bidding process alleged that the LTC had not involved and intimated them after opening of financial bid documents. He said the LTC had knocked out the lowest financial bidders without informing them about the reason of their failure while signing MoU with sixth financial bidder. It put question mark on the transparency of the project. 

He said that the LTC had not even returned the bid money to unsuccessful bidders, despite getting it in August 2011. 

Adnan Mudassar, General Manager Finance of LTC, told The News that the Anhul Ankai had scored 189 marks after evaluation of financial and technical bids while the second bidder score was 170 points. He said the LTC had followed the World Bank Process QCBS (quality and cost base selection) method in evaluating and awarding the tender of the buses. He said that successful company buses was the best international certification under which, if a bus met an accident, only front and back windscreens would be broken while the windows glasses would not be damaged. 

Other then this, the successful bidder had also made a commitment to establish assembly line of their buses in Lahore, he added. He said that the final price between the LTC and successful bidder was decided at $70,000 per bus against the filled price of $75653 while the company would complete the supply of buses April 2012. 

He said that the process of returning the bid money to unsuccessful bidders had started. They would also be informed about their evaluation score, he added. 

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