Finance: Construction of Defense’s new building awarded in accordance with guideline

Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer during a press conference on February 19, 2020. (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

Finance Ministry said on Saturday that the project to construct Defense Ministry’s new building was contracted to Rainbow Construction in accordance with a guideline on awarding construction projects through the National Tender Board, which sets maximum limit on government projects or value of government projects which can be awarded to contractors.

Finance Ministry has been accused of revising guidelines to award the project to select a specific contractor over another that had offered to carry out the project at a lower cost.

In a statement on Saturday, Finance Ministry said the project was awarded in accordance with guidelines published on the Gazette by the Procurement Policy Board on April 1, 2020, which the National Tender Board is compelled to follow.

Though SJ Construction had quoted a lowest price for the project, the company had already been contracted government projects to the maximum limit of projects and value that can be awarded under the guideline. The National Tender Committee therefore selected Rainbow Construction, which had quoted the lowest price after SJ Construction.

Finance Ministry said that in accordance with the guideline, SJ Construction can only work on maximum MVR 300 million worth of projects and maximum eight tenders at any given time.

However, the company has currently signed 11 projects worth MVR 310 million.

“Therefore, Rainbow Construction, which proposed the second lowest price, won this tender in accordance with this guideline,” said the Finance Ministry.

Finance Ministry said the purpose of the government policy in question is to ensure the speedy completion of projects awarded through the National Tender Board, and to accommodate for projects to be awarded to more companies, and that the regulation had been discussed with Maldives Association of Construction Industry (MACI) and other stakeholders.

Finance Ministry also added that the biggest purpose of releasing information regarding tender evaluation processes is to improve transparency.

Finance Ministry began releasing summaries of tender evaluation processes carried out through the National Tender Board on its website last week.

The information available includes the contractors who applied for the project, the quoted price, and whether or not they passed the evaluation process, and justification for selection or rejection. It also includes the selected contractor, the awarded amount, the awarded duration, the awarded date, and the awarding authority.

Finance Ministry said that its website currently has information on tenders evaluated this year available, but that it will have information on tenders starting from last year available by the end of this August.