AF Consult seeks revision of the decision to award DPR contract to SMEC

    Nalsingh Gad Hydropower Project
    KATHMANDU, Feb 24: Swiss firm AF Consult has filed an application, seeking revision of the decision to award contract to prepare Detailed Project Report (DPR) of Nalsing Gad Hydropower Project to a consulting firm led by SMEC International Pvt Ltd, an Australian company.

    AF Consult’s proposal was ranked in the second position by Nalsing Gad Hydropower Project Development Committee.

    The Australian company had scored highest mark in evaluation of its technical and financial proposal as per the two envelop proposal evolution method which counts scores of technical proposals first and adds to the marks of financial proposals in the second stage.  Technical proposal was given 85 percent weightage and financial proposal 15 percent weightage.

    Moti Bahadur Kunwar, executive director of the committee, said that second-ranked competitor filed an application for review of the decision on Tuesday“ “We will start looking into its claims from Wednesda”,” added Kunwar. The committee two weeks ago decided to select the consortium of SMEC which has earned highest combined score of technical proposal and financial proposal.

    The committee has already held negotiation with the consortium led by SMEC agreed a fee of Rs 940.8 million. It had published a notice about intention of accept of the proposal of SMEC on February 17. Tuesday was the last day to submit application for review of the decision.

    As per the existing rule, dissatisfied party can file application for review of procurement to Procurement Review Committee — a government agency to settle procurement disputes — by posting a deposit of 0.5 percent of the bid amount.

    Past experiences show that the dissatisfied party hesitates to go for review, fearing that their deposit amount will be seized for failure to furnish a valid ground for revision of the decision.

    Like in other procurements, complaints with identified or unidentified individuals has already been filed at different oversight agencies and parliamentary committees. “

    “We have evaluated the proposals as per the two envelop evaluation syst”m,” Kunwar said. He refused to comment on complaints filed at other agencies.

    One Pravin Prasad Sharma has filed a complaint against the decision to award contract to SMEC at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the parliament, claiming that the second- ranked competitor deserves the contract as its bid amount is lower by Rs 332 million compared to SMEC. Sharma has argued that the decision to award contract to SMEC will inflict loss on the government.

    Based on the complaint, PAC, on February 17, asked the committee to furnish details of evaluation and selection of consultant. The committee has not responded to PAC yet.

    Though lowest bidders are given priority in construction procurements, technical capacity of the bidder is given high priority while selecting consultant“.

    “Public entity can give 80 to 90 percent weightage to technical proposal. Financial proposals can be given remaining weightage as per the existing l”w,” Naresh Kumar Chapagain, spokesperson of Public Procurement Monitoring Office, told Republica.

    Controversy in procurement process has become a regular phenomenon in Nepal, leading to uncertainties and delays as well as cost overruns.

    Nalsing Gad has been identified as a priority project in the recently unveiled master plan for energy development for the next decade. The storage project with capacity of 410 MW is located in Jajarkot district.

    The selected firm has to update feasibility study, and prepare detailed engineering survey and design as well as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report as part of preparatory works for the development of the reservoir project.

    After a brief discussion on the complaints on procurement of consulting services, the meeting of PAC held on Tuesday decided to write to the committee, directing it to stop the consultant selection process until it comes up with final decision on the issue.

    This means the committee cannot sign contract agreement with SMEC International.

    Speaking at the meeting, lawmaker Ram Hari Khatiwada sai“: “We should look into the issue as the complaint makes claim of embezzlement of the Rs 332 milli”n.”

    PAC also has said that it would invite officials of the committee for discussion on the issue very soon.

    Source : Republica