Sep 27 , 2020

The federal agency in charge of regulating public procurements has removed close to four dozen suppliers from its blacklist. The Agency is also allowing these companies to participate in tenders floated by the government.

Mentioning the economic slowdown that was caused by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Public Procurement & Property Administration Agency has removed the bans it imposed on 45 companies. The suppliers were banned from participating in any kind of bid by public institutions for violating procurement laws during the last fiscal year. During the past fiscal year, the Agency banned 58 suppliers.

Promising International Trading, one of the major wheat suppliers, Minaye Plc, Orex Construction, F.deutsch GMBH and Teda Trade Works Plc are the companies that were reinstated by the Agency. Except for Promising International that was banned for a year, all of the companies were barred for six months. They were blacklisted for refusing and failing to deliver various projects as per their contracts and failing to sign contracts after they were announced as winners.

"We pardoned the companies, realising the impact of the virus on them," said  Setegn Gelan, public relations director at the Agency. "We lifted the bar to help the companies retain their employees."

Six months ago, the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs issued a protocol that prohibited all private companies from laying off workers.

While pardoning close to four dozen companies, the Agency still placed a ban on 13 suppliers from taking part in any bidding process due to the gravity of the faults they have committed, according to Setegn.

"They've been found involved in corruption and fraud," he said. "They'll be banned from participating in any bidding process until the suspension period ends."

With the Agency's law, companies that have been involved in fraud and corruption are subjected to two years of suspension. Companies that failed to meet the contract will be banned for half a year to two years depending on the gravity of the fault. Blacklisted companies will not take part in the bidding process of public offices.

Teda Trade Works was banned by the Agency in April due to its failure to deliver on time five of the 60 laptop computers it was awarded to supply to Gonder University. Its customer payment order (CPO), which amounted to 89,000 Br, was confiscated.

Usually, the company was getting projects in June, and this year it did not get business following the suspension, according to Betelhem Ezezew, general manager of Teda.

“We've been very discouraged because of the economic and psychological damage following the ban,” said Betelhem.

Promising International Trading Co., a Dubai-based firm operating five offices worldwide, won a bid to supply 200,000tn of wheat for 1.39 billion Br in June 2018. However, the company failed to meet the contract due to claiming that the cost of shipping had increased, leading to a one-year ban on the company issued last December.

Busha Temesgen (PhD), an associate professor of procurement and supply chain management at Addis Abeba University, advises the Agency to be careful in this act to not encourage offenders.

"The sector lacks skills and knowledge," said Busha, who urges the public procurement process to be advised by experts and to employ efficient technologies to upgrade the service.

During the last fiscal year, the Public Procurement & Property Disposal Service spent 5.1 billion Br for the procurement of goods and services for the over 189 public offices. Out of the total procurement, 2.1 billion Br was spent through the framework agreement. The remaining was used for strategic procurements including vehicles, wheat and other electro-mechanical products.

PUBLISHED ON Sep 27,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1065]

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