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NHA contradicts news reports about award of contracts for 2 C-PEC projects.

ISLAMABAD -- National Highway Authority (NHA) Wednesday strongly rejected the contents of the news item published in a section of media about award of contracts for two C-PEC highway projects.

The two projects were awarded to the lowest bidders, and not the second lowest ones as reported,said a press release issued here.

The process of award of contracts have been finalized in a transparent manner as prescribed in rules and procedures of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) guidelines, spread over a period of about twelve months and duly approved by the ADB.

M/s Maqbool-Zarghoon JV was not only considered but evaluated as lowest evaluated bidder in two road lots as per their capacity and were awarded two contracts namely N-50 at the evaluated bid price of Rs. 4.04 billion and N-70 at the evaluated bid price of Rs. 3.07 billion,the press release said.

The NHA is committed to conduct all procurements in accordance with Public Procurement Rules 2004. In case of funded projects,

Public Procurement Rules are followed in the light of Rule 5 which provides precedence to rules of international financial institutions in case of conflict with local rules. Moreover, each step of procurement of projects funded by ADB was scrutinized by team of specialists of Asian Development Bank and subsequently cleared.

As a matter of fact, the two projects of N-50 and N-70 were advertised in the form of four lots (two for each project) on December 19,2014. The advertisement unambiguously stipulated that a bidder may be awarded one or more contract packages if it submits the lowest evaluated substantially responsive bid(s) provided such bidder meets the aggregated qualification requirements for one or more contract packages. It was determined during the technical bid evaluation that the bidder M/s Maqbool-Zarghoon JV only possesses capacity for one lot under each road package.

Further, it may be noted that as per Public Procurement Rules, the bidder with the lowest evaluated bid (not the lowest announced bid) shall be awarded the procurement contract. The lowest evaluated bid is defined as the one most closely conforming to evaluation criteria and other conditions specified in the bidding document and having the lowest evaluated cost.

Regarding N-50 road project, two separate bidders turned out to be lowest evaluated bidders and hence qualify for award of contracts. On the other hand on N-70 project, the award decision has been made following the least cost combination method specified in the bidding document. Hence all the procurement decisions are in favour of lowest evaluated bidders in line with the stipulations of bidding document.

No award is made to second lowest bidder as wrongfully presented in the captioned news article. It is also clarified that PPRA rules prohibit negotiations with the bidders and therefore bidders cannot be asked to match their costs with the ones quoted by other bidders.

It is not out of place to mention that following their

representation, several meetings were held between representatives of M/s Maqbool-Zarghoon JV and NHA Evaluation Committee and Tender Acceptance Committee. Moreover, personal audience was given to them by Chairman NHA. The representatives have shown their satisfaction on the process and also reflected their trust to the leadership of NHA in arriving at decision based on merit.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:Jan 14, 2016
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