ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) has expressed serious concern on violation of Standard Bidding Documents (SBDs) in procurement by the public sector procuring agencies.

In a letter Chairman PEC Engineer Muhammad Najeeb Khan drew attention of Secretary Power Division Rashid Mahmood Langrial, towards this issue, which according to him the PEC has already sent to the federal, as well as, provincial ministries, departments, semi-autonomous and autonomous organisations in the public sector.

Chairman PEC argued that significance of standardisation, transparency and equitability in contracting system, particularly in the field of construction works and services, needs no overemphasis. It is; however, observed that procuring agencies in public sector deviate from the provisions of Standard Bidding/ Contracting Documents (SBDs) issued by Pakistan Engineering Council.

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Being the national regulator of engineering profession in its entirety, the matter is raising serious concern for PEC and such practices not only lead to mis-procurement but give way to corrupt practices, as well.

Chairman PEC further contended that implementation in letter and spirit of the SBDs issued by PEC under Section 8(p) of PEC Act 1976 is mandatory (currently in use, SBDs are available on PEC Website).

This aspect was further emphasised by Planning Commission/ Planning and Development Division in its letters of February 12, 2008 and December 24, 2009.

“Ongoing violations warrant strict cognisance for effective control through collective efforts of all relevant authorities so as to ensure transparent and just system of procurement in the country,” he added.

Chairman PEC requested Secretary Power Division to protect the construction sector from malpractices in overall interest of the country.

On September 8, 2023, PEC wrote to all the Federal Ministries, Departments/ Organisations, Provincial Governments and their Departments, and stated that Section 8(p) of PEC Act 1976, formulates/ updates, as well as, issues Pakistan Standard Bidding Documents (SBDs) for implementation by all the procuring agencies (PAs), constructors, consultants, etc., at federal and provincial levels.

He further stated it is; however, observed that a number of Procuring Agencies (PAs) are violating the provisions of SBDs in vogue; and contradict the procurement procedure duly harmonized with said documents and prescribed in PPRA Rules.

“Such violation is not only tantamount to mis-procurement but result in non-transparency, non-standardisation and in certain cases corrupt practices, as well,” the sources said quoting Chairman PEC as saying in his letter.

PEC has asked all governments and their organisations/ departments to protect the interests of construction sector and ultimately of the country, by taking following steps with respect to their organisations: (i) direct them to ensure implementation of SBDS issued by PEC. Current SBDS are available at PEC’s website and take cognisance of violations of mentioned SBDs, with befitting disciplinary proceedings against the responsible personnel; (ii) Caution them further that such violations may lead to cancellation of tenders on the basis of ‘mis-procurement’; and (iii) communicate to the engineers that their involvement in any act of preparation, implementation or supervision of such bidding documents (tender/ pre-qualification notices, forms, contract format etc.), which are, to whatsoever extent, in contravention to the SBDs issued by PEC, will be tantamount to misconduct cognisable by PEC resulting in suspension/ deregistration of Engineer Registration, with PEC. This action will be in addition to the disciplinary proceedings taken by the respective administration as per rules.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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