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ISLAMABAD: The government has reportedly decided to amend public procurement rules, 2004 regarding spot procurement of specific commodities to meet demand supply gap, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

Draft Rule 21-A of Public procurement Rules,2004 containing “mechanism for import of commodities to meet the demand-supply gap of State Reserves” was presented before PPRA Board in its meeting held on January 24,2022, wherein after thorough deliberations the Board decided that the said proposed mechanism enabling spot procurement shall be shared with the stakeholders to make it broader for applicability in different sectors for procurement of these goods and commodities through international tendering.

In compliance with the Board decision, the views/comments of stakeholders were sought for further improvement of the proposed rule.

The PPRA has proposed the following amendments for import of commodities to meet the demand-supply gap of state reserves: (i) notwithstanding anything contained in the rules, the procuring agency shall use the provisions defined in this rule for import of such commodities required to meet the demand-supply gap of those items urgently required to be placed in the market as a public good to avoid the shortage of supply of these commodities; (ii) the response time for the procurement shall be reasonable as per the practices of that trade, however not less than seven days; and (iii) the advertisement will be published in at least two widely circulated international newspapers or journals and suitable electronic websites of international business market including the websites of the Authority and Procuring Agency; (iv) the bidding documents shall clearly define the specifications, quality, parameters and allied national or international standards of the commodities; (v) the bidding documents shall contain the tentative dates for issuance of evaluation report and signing of contract; (vi) the validity period will not be less than 72 hours beyond the time of issuance; (vii) the evaluation report will be communicated to all the bidders electronically immediately after its issuance; and (viii) any grievance will be filed within 24 hours of issuance of evaluation report, and the same will be resolved by the already constituted grievance redressal committee within next 24 hours.

Ministry of Defence Production argued that creating exception to the general rule through the proposed amendment is reflective of the fact that some gaps exist in the procurement planning and forecasting of these commodities.

Import of 3MMTs of wheat: PPRA Board for exempting MNFS&R from rules

Therefore, Ministry of Defence Production, has noted Rule-8 of the Public Procurement Rules 2004 which stipulates that “all procuring agencies shall devise a mechanism for planning in detail of all proposed procurements with the subject of realistically determining the requirements of the procuring agency, with its available resources, delivery time or completion date and benefits that are likely to accrue to the procuring agency in future”.

In addition to that relevant rules also exist in Public Procurement Rules 2004 to handle any emergency situation adequately but it should be considered as an exception. Foregoing in view, Ministry of Defence Production has not supported the proposed amendments.

Finance Ministry, in its comments has said that a list of intended energy products, agriculture products, minerals and mining related products etc. may be incorporated in the proposed amendments. Finance Ministry has proposed that justification for response time i.e. “not less than seven days” may be duly captured in the draft amendments.

Ministry of National Food Security and Research fully supported the proposed amendments to be made in Rule 219A0 and sub-para (1) to (8). However, two main articles may be included in this mechanism, in order to avoid delay in the import of process of essential food commodities and to place the case to the ECC/ Cabinet for getting approval and saving time.

These proposed articles are: (i) Rule-5- wherein exemptions are given on the international and inter-governmental commitments of the Federal Government or the process to be adopted for import under G2G arrangements; and (ii) Rule-40 limitation on negotiation/ matching process, wherein the procuring agency without changing the cost and scope of work or service may negotiate with the successful bidder for increasing the quantum of import of a commodity.

Ministry of Industries and Production has supported the amendments as they intend to reduce timeliness for the procurement of essential commodities, however, the Ministry has suggested the opinion of Petroleum Division and Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) may also be obtained.

Petroleum Division has suggested some amendments in proposed language like the spot tender be announced through procuring Agency’s official website, PPRA’s website and social media platforms. The procuring agency may also notify via e-mail to a pool of credible suppliers and reputable market intelligence agencies. The tender notice will also be shared with PPRA by the procuring agency.

Petroleum Division has also proposed that bid validity period will be the prerogative of the procuring agency considering the market dynamics.

It maintains that any grievance will be filed within 24 hours of issuance of evaluation report. The already constituted grievance redressal committee will resolve the same as soon as possible but not later than 30 days. For avoidance of doubt, any grievance will not affect the procurement process.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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