Laws to make contractors accountable on the anvil 

Kathmandu, June 30

The Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs has begun preparations to amend laws so as to prevent contractors from delaying development projects.

MoLJPA Spokesperson Ramesh Dhakal said the government was trying to amend laws to ensure that development projects were not hindered by individuals and contractors.

Achieving the goals of socialism, good governance and prosperity necessitates putting appropriate legal framework in place to check monopolies of contractors and individuals, he argued.

It is urgent to change existing laws because if the government cannot complete development projects in time, it increases the cost of projects, he argued. Dhakal said the government needed to review laws related to development projects, including foreign direct investment, as they were enacted in a unitary system which might not be compatible with the federal system.

Dhakal said change would be introduced in the Public Procurement Act to prevent contractors from winning multiple projects at the same time without sufficient human resources and equipment.

Madhu Prasad Regmi, secretary at the Public Procurement Monitoring Office of the Prime Minister’s Office also said the law needed to be changed to discourage contractors winning contracts on low bids and delaying projects.

“We have seen contractors trying to win contracts for multiple projects by showing the same human resources and equipment. This has to change,” Dhakal argued. He said the new law could fix the ceiling of projects one contractor could win in a year.

Dhakal also said public entities competing with the private sector should not be compelled to meet the procurement process. “If public entities that compete with the private sector are made to adhere to public procurement rules, then they cannot compete,” he added.

Dhakal said the rules would be amended to discourage government agencies from preparing the bidding process to suit certain bidders. “We also need to change the laws to enable public offices to directly procure goods from other public offices,” he added.

Regmi said, “Other concerned bodies should clear project sites by removing poles, drainage and other obstructions.” He added that the agencies concerned had to compensate individuals whose land plots were acquired by the government for projects. Regmi added that amendment of existing laws was necessary also to discourage foreigners who won joint venture contracts, but got work done through Nepali partners.

Corporate lawyer Narayan Chaulagain said the right to own property was a fundamental right and any dispute that involved citizen’s property could reach the court. “The court has upheld that the government must duly compensate affected parties before using their land for public use,” he said.