ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has awarded a multimillion dollar contract for license of track and trace system of tobacco products to M/S National Radio & Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC).
When contacted, Chairman FBR Shabbar Zaidi Tuesday night said the contract had been awarded to the lowest bidder M/S NRTC. “We stuck to the PPRA rules for awarding this contract,” he added.
However, other top official sources confirmed to The News that the FBR sought the viewpoint of ministry of law on a “typo mistake” committed in the bidding document and allowed them to rectify it.
The question arises whether the FBR sought any comments of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) or not before awarding the contract.
The FBR in its earlier evaluation report stated, “The bidder has offered price of Rs0.731 with the unit of 1,000 stamps. However, the bidder claimed that this price quoted is per one stamp and not per quoted 1,000 stamps. As per Annex-6 of IFL, the bidder was required to offer rate per 1000 stamps and not per stamp. Therefore, the rate quoted in the bid is to be taken such i.e. 0.731 per 1,000 stamps. However, if contention of the bidder is accepted, the cost comes to Rs731 per 1,000 stamps. Apparently, the bidder has violated annex-6 of the IFL and if the bidder does not agree to Rs0.731 per 1000 stamps, the next lowest responsive bidder may be offered the license,” the FBR evaluation report added.
However, the FBR issued a letter on October 29, 2019 to the NRTC in which it stated that the Licensing Committee, constituted under Licensing Rules 2019 notified vide SRO. 250(I)/2019 dated February 26, 2019 as amended vide SRO.918(I)/2019 dated August 7, 2019, submitted its recommendations vide letter No UO 1(I) Chief (IR-OPS) (T&T)/2019, dated October 2019.
The recommendations of the Licensing Committee were considered in the Board-in-Council meeting dated October 14, 2019 in which the Board unanimously decided that the Member (IR-Operations), FBR, may take further steps in light of the recommendations made by the Licensing Committee, in the light of the Licensing Rules 2019 (SRO # 250(I)/2019, dated February 26, 2019) read with PPRA Rules 2004, said the FBR.
The perusal of the minutes of meeting dated October 14, 2019 issued by the Licensing Committee revealed that the M/s NRTC has offered price of Rs0.731 with unit of 1000 stamps. However, M/s NRTC claimed that this price is mistakenly declared, therefore, they filed the representation in Dispute Resolution/Grievance Redressal Committee for correction of unit price as Rs731 per 1,000 stamps instead of Rs0.731 per 1,000 stamps which was accepted by the Dispute Resolution/Grievance Redressal Committee vide order dated October 28, 2019 on the basis of clarification provided by the Law and Justice Division, the FBR stated in its letter.
Taking this into account, the FBR has granted license to NRTC at price of Rs731 per 1,000 stamps for a period of five years to establish, maintain and operate the whole process/system of Trace and Trace System for tobacco products in Pakistan subject to the terms and conditions as stipulated in Licensing Rules 2019, Invitation for Licensing (IFL) and other relevant laws, the letter added.