Staff Correspondent: At the last minute of the current government’s meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Procurement, the proposal to spend additional money on the project related to procurement and procurement of goods fell by the wayside. In the last two months (October 10-December 13), 19 such proposals were presented for approval by various ministries and agencies. 17 of them have been passed. Against these proposals related to the purchase of goods, an additional sum of Tk 1813 crore has been approved. The review showed that not a single such proposal was raised in the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Procurement at the same time last year.
TIB Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman told that this matter is unusual. That is why it is natural to raise more than one question. Costs may vary, but the first question is whether the reason for the cost increase has been verified before the proposal is approved. It is also a question of whether the additional expenditure was properly incurred, whether there was any shortfall, whether it was verified, since there were suddenly so many proposals out of sequence – whether these expenditures were unrealistically correct. He also said that it is normal to approve one or two proposals on the eve of elections. But so many proposals in a very short time side is kind of questionable. An officer related to the cabinet department said, ‘I myself have noticed – after returning the variation proposal for the additional cost of the procurement-related project, the same proposal has been sent under a different name.’ Recently there has been an increase in the number of proposals to increase spending.
After the recently held meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Procurement, Additional Secretary of the Cabinet Department, Syed Mahbub Khan said that the two proposals to increase the expenditure related to the procurement of the Ministry of Bangladesh Railways and Aviation, raised in the last meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Procurement, have been returned without approval. These proposals are re-reviewed and sent back for submission.
A review of the agenda of the Cabinet Committee on Public Procurement showed that eight meetings were held in the last two months. A total of 142 proposals were raised in these meetings. However, during the same period last year, only two procurement-related Cabinet Committee meetings were held. There were four shopping proposals. But none of the ministries and organizations had proposed variation to increase the cost of procurement and procurement related projects.
The last meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Government Procurement was held on December 13. Of the 17 proposals, 5 were proposals to increase spending. Two of these were returned without approval. They are 20 Meter Gauge Diesel Electric Locomotives and 150 Meter Gauge Passenger Carriage Procurement Project Variation Proposals are presented for Bangladesh Railways. The additional cost of this project is estimated at Tk 177.48 crore.
The second one is the Civil Aviation Authority’s purchase proposal of an additional Tk 775.2 crore regarding the variation of the existing runway and taxiway power enhancement project at the Chittagong Shah Amanat International Airport.
Recently the cabinet committee on procurement meeting approved the proposal for increase in projects (procurement-procurement). This includes the consulting firm of Roads and Public Roads Department’s ‘Wicare Phase-1: Jhenaidah-Jesore Highway Development’ project jointly with International Consultants and Technocrats Pvt. Ltd. India, Roton International Ltd. UK and BCL Associates Bangladesh GK. In this, the proposal to increase the cost of an additional Tk 5 crore 19 lakh 1 thousand 784 for variation in the consultant fee sector was approved.
In that meeting, a proposal to increase the cost of Tk 29 crore 2 lakh 91 thousand for Sarmi Consortium Korean GIC, a project consultant of the Ministry of Shipping, was raised. That too was approved. Apart from this, Tk 28 crore for Syedpur 150 MW simple cycle power plant construction project, Tk 33 crore for proper quality and wide upgradation project of highway from Barisal (Char Kaunia) to Bhola (Elisha Ferighat) to Lakshmipur, ‘Kailastila’ of Sylhet Gas Fields Ltd. of Energy and Mineral Resources Department. A proposal to increase the expenditure of around Tk 4.3 crore for drilling services of No. 8 well (exploration well) was approved. Besides, the proposal of additional expenditure of $1 lakh 40 thousand 802 in the field of ‘Kailastila No. 8 well (exploration well) drilling’, warline logging and core and PVT analysis service sector was also approved.
Besides, the additional cost of Bangladesh Railway’s ‘Construction of dual gauge double railway line from Akhaura to Laksam and conversion of existing railway line to double gauge’ project, Bangladesh Railway’s ‘Construction of a dual-gauge railway line parallel to the existing meter gauge railway line in Dhaka-Narayanganj section’ project consulting firm, a proposal for additional Tk 686 crore was approved.
Besides, Tk 195 crores for the variation of the work of ‘Dredging in Inner Bar of Mongla Bandar Channel’ project, additional cost of Tk 274 crores for the construction of ‘Matarbari coal-fired power plant’ project and Tk 446 crores for the construction of dual railway line from Akhaura to Laksam and conversion of existing railway line to dual gauge.
However, an exceptional offer has been found. A proposal to reduce the cost of about Tk 3 crore has been approved for the variation of Rajuk’s project of construction of apartments for low and middle income groups in Uttara Sector 18.
According to the Government Procurement Act, ‘If the Project Manager deems it necessary to issue a variation order or additional work order, he shall prepare a proposed order and submit to the approving authority a quantity-based account of the additional work as per items including the required plan, justification of work, along with the notice filed by the contractor in that order. Submit addition or subtraction of work due to change in plan, design or layout, subject to the general scope and physical boundaries of the project, increase or decrease in quantity including inclusion of new items of work, issue of variation order for purchase of works and physical services from the procuring main contractor in view of actual conditions. can do.’
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