There is favouritism and corruption in the tendering system

Dear Editor,

In the previous government and in the current government there definitely appears in the system of tendering to be a certain level of corruption and favouritism. This infiltrates the entire process and in some cases translates to the termination of genuinely awarded contracts so that associates of those in power are awarded the contracts.

Further, the policy of tendering is usually that the lowest compliant tenderer wins. This is where the danger lies because if contractors will tender the lowest cost possible for infrastructural and capital works,  this will usually reflect low quality or shoddy work – something which those in authority do not seem to understand. This is because they will use the lowest quality cement, would not use hardeners for the longevity of the concrete, and will stretch the paint by using paint oil, thinners or water (for emulsion paint) all in an effort to maximize their own profits.

In the case of security services one stands bewildered as to how the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), the ministries’ evaluators and others, can award tenders at times to certain security firms when it is obvious that they will have recourse to underpaying workers, or lack the proper supervisory and training programmes which are costly, and who would resort to theft of taxes. For security tenders and others where the tenders are extremely low, some contractors are known to be involved in the theft of Value Added Taxes (VAT). The employees working for such security companies are not able to claim their NIS as pensioners and have no choice but to use the public health care system and social welfare system which inculcates an over-dependency on the government. This happens because some of these companies have a tendency to steal the NIS contributions or hoodwink the National Insurance Scheme by only paying for a small number of employees.

Other companies are known to declare bankruptcy after stealing hundreds of millions of dollars in NIS contributions, and this is also done with PAYE taxes.

In the previous and current administrations there are clear instances of corruption and manipulation. I hope that the powers that be look at this very seriously. I would advise that an investigation be launched into these areas that are being exploited by dishonest contractors both in the construction field and the security industry.

Yours faithfully,

Roshan Khan Sr

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