Sunday, July 25, 2021

Dispute between PPADB and ministry risks prolonging water crisis

A dispute between the Ministry of Minerals Energy and Water Resources on one hand and the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) on the other threatens to further delay the award of a multi-million contract for design and supervision of North-South pipeline from Palapye to Mmamasia. Incidentally, a section of that pipeline which is from Dikgatlhong Dam to Palapye is almost complete.

Papers passed to this publication indicate that it will be a long time before the second phase of the project which if completed will ultimately mitigate the water shortages in Gaborone gets started. If completed the pipeline will also ease pressure off the existing but ailing pipeline which is frequented by bursts. In the meantime a list of design consultants that had submitted their bids are up in arms questioning the impartiality of PPADB. The bidders include Ace Gibb/Aquaducts, Bergstan, Hydrogeo, Multi-Tec Consult/Erodec, Aurecon, CPP Botswana, Bigen Africa, and SSI Botswana/Water Resource Consultants.

The information shows that Bergstan has submitted the lowest bid at P58 million, which is much lower than the P95 million cost estimates from the ministry. While PPADB prefers the Bergstan bid, the technical staff at the ministry are wary that the Bergstan bid as submitted could in the end prove risky. Internal information shows that staff ministry is also arguing that in the end the Bergstan bid will still go up in costs as it does not include some of the elements sought by the procuring entity.

Another dispute that is playing out which has the potential to further delay the award of the contract is that other bidders are alleging that Bergstan has had an unfair advantage in that they were briefed by PPADB immediately after opening of the bids. Other than that it is unusual for PPADB to do such a costing brief, other bidders say Bergstan has as a result had the opportunity to motivate its financial proposal. “Other firms have not yet been briefed to date,’ said a ministry official.

The tender validity has already been extended twice with the last extension of 120 days commencing April 1st 2015 as per the request of the ministry in their letter dated 26th March. Once completed the pipeline is expected to cost P2 billion in total.

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