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ISLAMABAD: The Lahore High Court (LHC) issued notices to the Punjab government, managing director Punjab Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), and the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) from excluding a private firm as of tendering process for the supply of anaesthesia ventilator from China.A single-judge LHC bench of Justice Jawad Hassan in his order said the points raised by the petitioner Solutions Engineering (Pvt) Ltd need considerations.

Advocate Mohammad Azhar Siddique filed a writ petition on behalf of Solutions Engineering (Pvt) Ltd under Article 199 of the Constitution and made Punjab’s principal secretary, secretary Specialized Health, secretary Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, secretary Finance, commissioner Employment and Social Security Institution (PESSI), and managing director Punjab Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), and the Competition Commission of Pakistan as respondents.

He sought direction to the PPRA to review his order dated 13 December 2021 and declare null and void the tender announced by the Commissioner PESSI (respondent no 5) being contrary to the Rule 4, 10, and 55 of the Punjab Procurement Rules, 2014 (PPRA Rules).

The counsel contended Solutions Engineering (Pvt) Ltd being multi-national Pakistan-based company having setup in Pakistan, the UAE, and China, has been providing multi-disciplinary control engineering services, both nationally and globally since 2004.

He submitted that his client supplied the BIPAP machines to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), trained the paramedical staff all over Pakistan and got excellent performance certificate by the Infection Hospital, Islamabad.

He further submitted that the company through WP No 71070, 72150 and 54743 of 2021 challenged the bidding document regarding provision of anaesthesia ventilator for various hospitals for year 2021-22, and that a condition regarding manufacturer countries limited to USA, Europe and Japan and excluding the equipment of China, being contrary to Rule 4 of PPRA Rules, which were disposed of with the direction to Punjab Procurement Regulatory Authority Services and General Administration Department, Government of the Punjab, Lahore (PPRA) for early decision of the matter in accordance with law. He adds that consequently the Respondent No.6/PPRA passed the impugned order.

He also submitted that the actions and orders of the respondents are against the Rule 4, which says; “Procuring agencies, while engaging in procurements, shall ensure that the procurements are conducted in a fair and transparent manner, the object of procurement brings value for money to the agency and the procurement process is efficient and economical.”

Azhar Siddique urged that the PPRA has to decide the matter in accordance with law because under the Punjab Procurement Regulatory Authority Act 2009 the PPRA is the regulator.

However, Additional Advocate-General Punjab Barrister Muhammad Umair Khan Niazi objected to the maintainability of the petition being premature on the ground that it is a policy matter and has been decided in accordance with law.

He added that the respondents have excluded China-origin manufacturers because they received certain complaints against them.

He submitted it has already been mentioned in the order dated 13 December 2021 that: “Exclusion of China, our strategic ally and a friendly country, as a “country of manufacturer”, should be re-visited and based on more plausible and concrete grounds, if required, specially keeping in view its recent advancements in technology, export oriented economy and being considered as a global production house.”

He said that the issue needs interpretation of Rules 5 and 6 of PPRA Rules.

Mohammad Azhar Siddique informed that the action of the respondents is against the World Trade Organization agreements of Government of Pakistan specifically; Morocco Pakistan Round Negotiation Agreements, Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

He further submits that under Article 4 of the Constitution it is an inalienable right of the petitioner to be treated as per law and no action detrimental to his property shall be taken except in accordance with law.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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