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Observations on the Procurement Guidelines 2018

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Goods, Works, Services and Information Systems

 

Published in the Gazette of 9th May 2018

Comments/ Observations and Proposals of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce

 

1. Structure of the documentation

1.1   It is noted that the Guidelines set out binding obligations (1.3), though couched in terms of a “guideline” as opposed to a “regulation” or “rule”.  We suggest that strictures for non-compliance of the procedures set out in the guidelines be stated expressly.  The current wording in 4.3 does not stipulate as to who will initiate the sanctions.  The sanctions should be imposed by the Commission and a mechanism for the same should be set out in the manual.

1.2   The Chamber also wishes to highlight the need to enact a statute that covers National procurement, like that found in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. 

1.3   It is also noted that the National Agency for Public Private Partnership Procurement (NAPP) is in the process of developing guidelines for procuring BOO/BOT projects for the consideration and approval of the Commission.  Chamber wishes to state that having these regulations, including methods of dealing with unsolicited proposals in BOO/BOT and BOOT projects, should be fast tracked.

 

2. Appeal Process

An appeal is provided only from an award of a contract.  The process does not envisage interim appeals.  A process for interim appeals, which must be heard and disposed of within a stipulated time period that is short, must be set out to avoid bidders having to go before court to pursue their cases.    An interim appeal especially where tailoring procurement specifications to favour a particular supplier is seen, should enable aggrieved parties to bring the matter to the notice of the relevant appeals boards immediately, without awaiting the outcome of the process.

Clause 8.5.6 deals with payments to Members of Procurement Appeals Boards and officers assisting in the Appeal process.  It is recommended that the payment structure is such that an incentive is provided if the process is concluded within a stipulated period.  This we believe would contribute to disposal of the appeals within a reasonable time.

We would also suggest that the composition of the appeal board provides for at least one procurement expert, one subject expert and one business expert in order to ensure fair and transparent review of appeal cases. This will give more comfort to the bidders that all factors are being taken into account.

 

3. Blacklisting

The Commission should cause to have the blacklist contemplated by the Guidelines available on its web site.  Further the blacklist should also set out:

  1. those individuals and organisations with which Sri Lankan entities cannot contract with because of international obligations undertaken by the Government of Sri Lanka:  e.g. Those who come under UN sanctions or sanctions imposed by countries.
  2. the shareholders/partners/directors of a black listed entity.
  3. defaulters during the process of procurement and after award.

 

4. Alternative Bids/Proposals or Bid Options/Proposal Options (5.12)

5.12(d):   Whether a conforming alternative bid should be accepted should not be determined only based on whether the price is lower than the original bid price.  Other qualitative considerations may also have to be considered to ensure that the Government entity gets the best deal.

 

5. Responsibilities of the Commission Post Award

To prevent post procurement corrupt practices it is recommended that the date of commencement of the contract be set out clearly in the communication to all bidders of the intention to award the contract (8.2)

 

6. Unsolicited proposals

This aspect has not been dealt with and it is recommended that a process be set out, to enable the government to consider global best practices and other innovative propositions.

 

7. Online Platform for procurement to look at the following areas:

7.1 For registration of suppliers and editing/updating details and documents by suppliers. This can save time and money for both suppliers and government. Registered suppliers can then also get an automatic email notification with respect to the items and categories they have registered for.

 

7.2 Platform to advertise organization/institution wise procurement opportunities so that potential suppliers may not miss any business opportunities and reduces associated cost in advertising extensively on print media.

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce

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