October 20: Finance Minister Janardan Sharma has formed a task force to prepare a draft to amend the Public Procurement Act- 2063.
A meeting held at the Ministry of Finance (MoF) on Tuesday (October 19) decided to form the task force under the coordination of the secretary of the Public Procurement Monitoring Office. The task force will have representatives from the Prime Minister's Office, Finance Ministry, Law Ministry, Physical Infrastructure Ministry, Urban Development Ministry, Energy Ministry, Forest Ministry, Land Management and other ministries.
The task force will submit a draft within fifteen days after studying the Public Procurement Act, regulations, bidding documents, suggestions received from various organizations, bodies and experts including the Federation of Contractors Association of Nepal.
During the discussion held at MoF, the Public Procurement Monitoring Office presented a preliminary draft on the issues to be amended in the Act. As per the proposed provision, it has been recommended to reduce the timeframe for submission of bids for public construction.
The preliminary draft has proposed 35 days for submission of international bids and 21 days for national bids. Likewise, after the application are accepted it has been proposed to reduce the time period for issuing letter of intent as well.
According to the new provision, it takes three days to issue LoI for national bids and seven days for international bids. Representatives of the Federation of Contractors' Association of Nepal have submitted a 39-point recommendation letter seeking for further reforms.
Finance Minister Sharma said timely amendment to the Public Procurement Act was necessary to speed up the development activities, ensure quality work and contribute to the national capital by increasing capital expenditure.
He stressed on the need to prepare amendment drafts keeping in view the quality, transparency and competitiveness of development activities. He has also directed to make provisions to give priority to domestic human resources as much as possible while selecting consultants for construction.
During the discussion, Dr Bishwo Nath Poudel, vicecChairman of the National Planning Commission, Chief Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi, secretaries of various ministries including the Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Finance, Public Procurement Monitoring Office, joint secretaries and experts expressed their views over the errors in the Public Procurement Act and regulations. They have asked to prepare a draft of the Public Procurement Act by addressing the concerns over the practice of providing multiple contracts to single contractor, project construction delays for years, delay over procurements due to lack of legal protection among other issues.