Kathmandu, June 11
After contractors threatened to halt all the construction works from next fiscal year, the government has secretly amended the Public Procurement Regulation (seventh amendment), which is in favour of corrupt contractors.
Twenty-three days after the government made the sixth amendment to the regulation, it has again amended a provision that will now allow contractors charged in corruption cases to participate in any bidding process.
The government had recently amended the guideline and included a provision that mentioned that if any contractor is found to be involved in any corruption, then the contractor would not be allowed to bid for any project.
However, the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) has now relaxed this provision.
The government has also relaxed another provision that will allow contractors to continue with their project even if 50 per cent of works of a project has not been completed within the deadline.
Earlier in the sixth amendment, the government had included a provision that contracts in such situations would be automatically cancelled.
An official from the Public Procurement Monitoring Office, seeking anonymity, said that the OPMCM has transferred the secretary of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport to the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat under the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation. “The previous secretary had played a crucial role during the sixth amendment of Public Procurement Regulation and contractors had been piling immense pressure on Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and other Cabinet ministers to transfer him and amend the regulation again,” the official added.
Moreover, the government has also relaxed the provision that if any construction and consultancy company has been established in partnership and if any member is found to be involved in any irregularity, then the company will not be allowed to participate in any future tender and if it is involved in construction of any project, then the contract for that project will also be immediately terminated.
Now, contractors and consultancy firms will be able to participate in any bidding process.
Earlier, Federation of Contractors’ Associations of Nepal (FCAN) had decided to halt all works from July 17 if the government did not amend some of the provisions included recently in Public Procurement Regulation (sixth amendment). FCAN had announced a series of protest programmes, like returning contract licence to government, wearing black armbands, among others.
A version of this article appears in print on June 12, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.