20 September 2017

Zambia: The Politics of Procurement-a Case of Fire Tenders


Does anyone remember the debate around the printing of ballot papers in the April 2016? Does this list not ring a bell? Note that the bids were quoted in United States dollars.

Renform 1,398,360, UniPrint 1,522,864, Fongda (AVIC) 1,956,057, Paarl media 2,125,891, Tall Security 2,875,689 and Al Ghurair 3,101,000

Renform did put up a challenge against the awarding of the tender to the most expensive supplier who turned out to be Dubai based company Al Ghurair.

With effect to the 42 fire tenders that have been expensively purchased at US$42 million against lower bids that went as low as US$36 million we need to be conscious of the system we are up against.

In truth the purchase is not going to be reversed and as in the case of the ballot papers a rival bidder is the one that has turned out to be loudest critic. Maybe we should reflect on this disposition.

Fifteen companies put up bids with United Kingdom based company that is at the head of the protests named Albion Export Services pushing a US$49 million bid.

Note that is the debate rages on that the Ministry had also specified the type of fire tenders and service equipment required on each fire lorry.

Eventually the tender was awarded to Grandview International Ltd to supply 42 fire tenders and safety equipment at an award sum of $42million.

But Albion Services disputed the award and appealed to the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) with their objection thrown out.

Is this therefore a closed case? What then should the debate focus on? Does the Zambia Public Procurement Authority ever reverse a deal once it is closed? What can people with legitimate grounds to challenge the US$42 million fire tenders purchase? If the deal really stinks what then should the citizenry do? What about having a closer look at the loud mouths that are at the head of the protests? Are they merely championing this debate as a result of being beaten to the corrupt game of tenderpreneurship?

No matter how hard people may feel about this transaction it could appear that it is a done deal with no way back for the people that have implemented it. But then we should all be concerned about the concerns raised on the quality of the fire tenders that have been allegedly branded inferior.

So while we are still at it bickering about the tender process maybe we should do better to refer to the past on how nothing has ever been done with regards to protestations about allegedly corruptly awarded tenders.


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