LAHORE: Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) re-branding paint job of Markhor worth millions on its aircraft were awarded in violation of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) as the job was never advertised in the newspapers, The News has learnt.
The procedure for hiring the services of any third party requires the job to be advertised and the service is tendered to the ablest bidder with the lowest bid. However, sources told The News that according to an observation by the Store Purchase Committee and Central Purchase Committee, there was no tendering for the contract and it was awarded to vendors who were prequalified for general advertising.
The said the specific prequalification for aircrafts paints had not been carried out and There is no such approval from any of the purchase committees. General Manager Public Relations Mashhood Tajwar, however, contended that the process was done in accordance with the PPRA rules. He, however, could not recall when was the job advertised in the newspapers and how many competitors participated in the bid.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan temporarily barred the PIA from using the logo of Markhor on the tail of its planes instead of the national flag last week. The application had questioned the rationale for this lavish spending given PIA’s current financial crisis.
The Supreme Court took up the case on an application filed in the SC Human Rights Cell at Islamabad registry in response to which the Chief Justice of Pakistan ordered halt to the makeover of PIA aircraft until a report is submitted on the matter. He also ordered MD Cyan to present a report regarding the award of contract for pasting stickers of the Markhor on the planes. In response to CJ’s question pertaining to the cost of the said endeavour, MD PIA stated that it would cost Rs2.7 million per plane to change the logo.
However, Justice Nisar observed that the cost for each plane would be Rs3.4 million and sought a report detailing tender and contractor information. The report, however, is still pending. The logo a Markhor, is actually costing Rs7 million each on PIA A-320 aircraft, according to the documents available to The News. The cost for this logo’s paint job on various aircraft is different.
PIA has thirteen A-320, eleven B3777 and eight ATRs. The cost of the B3777 is more than Rs7 million. The invoices from a marketing and advertising company were returned because the conceptual approval by advertising committee is given for two separate cases of B777 and A320. This seems to be a case of splitting of contracts which is a violation of PPRA rules. The total cost of two aircraft is beyond the power of advertising committee as per schedule of power.
To question regarding the price quoted to the CJ and the cost difference in various aircrafts for this job, Mr Taajwar said that it is obvious that the paintjob for different sized aircraft would cost differently, and for larger aircrafts it would be more than that for smaller ones, he said.