February 26, 2017

Protest trails NPA’s cargo surveying bids as bidders alleges contract manipulation,...'We are transparent,' NPA reacts

A couple of companies that bidded for a cargo surveying contract at the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) have raised alarm over alleged manipulation of the bids to favour some ‘incompetent companies’. 

It is recalled that the managements of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) had on November 26, 2016, announced on its websites for ‘competent and reputable cargo surveying companies to express interest in cargo surveying services’ at the Delta, Calabar, Onne, Rivers, Lagos and Tin-Can Island Ports.

Over 500 companies, some of whom have been involved in the execution of the contracts over the years also indicated interest in the job.
However, some of the aggrieved bidders, who spoke under anonymity,  are now alleging that a committee set up by the managements of the NPA is in the process of manipulating the bids to favour some companies.
“We got information that the committee is planning to give the contracts to some newly incorporated companies which were formed few months ago. These companies have no experience in handling this job. It is not even easy to form a company within few months and expect it to be suitable for the job. The process of registering a company takes a long time not to talk of being qualified for a job as sensitive as cargo surveillance. 
This is a job that requires experience but we are surprised that the tradition of selecting experienced companies is in the process of being jeopardized. Due process is not being followed.  The irony is that the consultant that was given the job of accessing all the bidders is yet to submit its report to the committee yet the committee has reached a decision on the companies that will handle the job,” some of the bidders alleged.
The aggrieved bidders who spoke with our correspondents are alleging that the bidding, if not transparently handled could negatively affect the present Federal Government’s transparency, due process and fight against corruption campaign.
They also called on the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Usman, and the General Manager Procurement, NPA, to wade into the matter and ensure due process is followed by awarding it to competent and experienced companies, failure of which they threatened the matter will be taking to President Muhammadu Buhari
They also urged the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo to order investigation into the matter.
“We are urging the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, to order investigation to the process before winners are announced. This is because we gathered that the managements of the NPA will soon ratified the decision of the committee. The present government has been campaigning against corruption and promoting transparency and due process. It will be counter-productive and bad image on the government if this manipulation is allowed to go on,” the bidders said.
In his reaction, the General Manager, Procurement, Dandare Ahmed confirmed that the committee did meet in a hotel concerning the contract but said the meeting was to evaluate some of the bidders and come up with the lists of successful ones.
“It’s true the committee has been meeting in a hotel to deliberate on the bids but the meeting was to evaluate the bidders. It is the practice of the Procurement department to always use hotel for such evaluations because of the volume of work involved. We have met in the hotel three times and we will still meet again in the hotel. We have yet to come out with the names of successful bidders so it is not right for some of the contractors to say we have chosen the companies that will handle the contracts. We are very transparent,” he said.
He was however silent on the allegations that some newly incorporated companies are being considered for the job.

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