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A ruling by the Public Procurement Appeals Authority (PPAA) in an appeal against Rural Energy Agency (REA) has done much to remind local tenderers that while the public procurement law compels public entities to grant exclusive preference to local bidders there are conditions which the bidders themselves have to meet in order to qualify for the preference, TPJ can report.

This came to light recently in the proceedings where ICB Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology in partnership with Power Research and Consultants PVT Ltd, was challenging a decision of REA, regarding tender for provision of consulting services for preparation of REA master plan.

According to the details of the appeal seen by TPJ, the appellant, who claimed to be a joint venture of a local company and a foreign company, was aggrieved that REA denied his tender exclusive preference guaranteed by the public procurement law.

He contended that according to the Information to Consultants (ITC), tenderers were required to attach in their bids, the Bid Securing Declaration, which meant that the respondent was obliged to apply the principle of exclusive preference.The appellant also asserted that the joint venture met the requirement of the law in that staff from the local partner outnumbered those from the foreign company.

He further claimed that REA had blatantly disregarded a government circular which directed procuring entities to award public contracts to capable local firms who meet the lowest technical scores.

However, REA pointed out that for exclusive preference to be applicable it must be contained in the tender document and that as this was not the case, the argument was misplaced.
In addition, the respondent argued that the so called partnership was never witnessed by a valid agreement to prove the shareholding of individual partners needed to establish eligibility for the preference.
In determining the grounds of the appeal, PPAA first observed that while indeed the tender document had not indicated that exclusive preference was applicable,the requirement of Bid Securing Declaration set by REA presupposed that exclusive preference was applicable and,in any case, the law requires exclusive preference to be applicable as the project was funded by the public.
However, PPAA also observed that, for a tenderer to qualify for exclusive preference scheme, the law demands that he must first be registered by the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority and that proof for this was not provided by the appellant.
The Appeals Authority therefore concluded that the appellant did not deserve to be given exclusive preference.
Consequently, PPAA dismissed the appeal and ordered each party to bear its own costs.

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