Dawn News

LAHORE, April 9: The Punjab government will have to pay an additional Rs100 million for procurement of equipment for the under-construction Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology (RIC) because of delay in completion of the procurement process.

The additional financial burden on the exchequer is said to be the result of the nine month delay in purchase of equipment for the much-awaited RIC, which is facing a delay of six months in its construction.

A source privy to the development told Dawn on Monday that a bid of Rs900 million had been finalised on a turnkey basis after completion of the laid down procedure in a June 2011 tender. Later, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif directed health authorities to hold negotiations with the only bidding company to bring down equipment prices.

The health authorities, however, delayed the negotiations due to ‘unknown reasons’ for a period of six months. The health department recalled the tender on Feb 9, 2012, inviting bids from various firms for purchase of equipment when the chief minister took notice of the delay. Health authorities were directed to complete the new bidding process in accordance with June 2011 tender prices.

The source said that in the recalled tender health authorities converted the equipment procurement process into nine packages to meet the ‘target’. A technical evaluation committee short-listed the companies, asking them to provide equipment according to each package.

Later, a grievance committee headed by health special secretary Dawood Mohammad Bareech and consisting of health additional secretary (establishment) Asfand Yar Khan and health deputy secretary (purchase) Hafiz Anees ur Rehman was formed to take up the prices issue with bidding firms.

The committee met on March 3, 2012 and asked the firms to submit their grievances, but it found companies were resistant on the prices issue. However, most short-listed bidding companies refused to bring down the prices to last year’s tender. Since then the equipment procurement process is facing another ‘indefinite’ delay.

Approved in October 2009, the new deadline for completion of construction of the 270-bed RIC is June 2012. The Punjab government earmarked Rs1.2 billion for purchase of equipment and Rs940 million for construction of the building.

Dawood Bareech said health officials were analysing statements on equipment prices and the machines provided to health facilities in 2011 and 2012 by the short-listed companies and other firms. He said the process would be completed in a couple of weeks.

To a question about the ninth months delay in finalising the process, he said the project on a turnkey basis had not been feasible. A new tender for equipment was called after abolishing the turnkey project, he said. The new process would take time because of involvement of Rs1 billion equipment, he added.

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