Contractors who have been bidding for several years and have cited irregularities and sometimes feel cheated are calling for the implementation of the “Bid Protest Committee” and the “Public Procurement Commission” in the New Year.
Many contractors noted that it is useless to write to the procuring entity, the Permanent Secretary or the Regional Executive Officer (REO) since responses are unsatisfactory. The law provides for a Bid Protest Committee, which is currently serving no purpose.
A bidder, whose tender or proposal has been rejected, may submit a written protest to the procuring entity. If the procurement proceedings have already led to an effective contract, the complainant may complain directly to the Bid Protest Committee. The protest must be submitted within five business days following publication of the contract award decision.
“It is only recently they would send an email telling people who a contract is awarded to, before no one knew nothing until it was too late to inquire.” One seasoned contractor noted.
If the protest is not reviewed by the procuring entity within five business days from the date of the protest’s submission, the bidder may submit a request for review to the National Board (NB), in the absence of the Public Procurement Commission.
“Now this don’t even make sense since nothing fruitful comes out of any complaint,” another contractor underscored.
The National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) shall conduct bid protest reviews through an independent, three persons Bid Protest Committee (BPC) comprising of: one member appointed by the Minister of Finance; one by the Association appearing to the Minister to represent contractors and another appointed by the Attorney General.
The Bid Protest Committee shall proceed urgently with the review of the complaint and shall make every effort to reach its award decision within 10 working days from receipt of the complaint.
The BPC shall issue a written decision within 15 business days of the conclusion of the review, stating the reasons for the decision and the remedies granted, if any. Final award is suspended during this period.
Whenever a complaint is submitted to a procuring entity, the entity shall consider the subject matter of the complaint and decide whether to reject the complaint or to implement any corrective action in order to bring the procurement proceedings in conformity with the Act.
Within five working days of receipt of the complaint, the procuring entity shall issue a written decision to the complainant, stating the reasons for the rejection of the complaint or advising on the corrective action that has been taken.
The Complaint shall be accompanied by the registration fee determined by the Administration and published on the Website. However, the tender board website is poorly kept and rarely updated.
Once the complainant has been finally dealt with by the Bid Protest Committee, the complaint and the award shall be promptly made available by the Administration for inspection to the general public, provided, however, that no information shall be disclosed if its disclosure would be contrary to law, would impede law enforcement, would not be in the public interest, would prejudice legitimate commercial interests of the parties or would inhibit fair competition.
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