Shed light on policies

Straits Times [10 April 2014]

I HAVE been a trading partner of GeBiz, the Government’s one-stop e-procurement portal, for the past 10 years.

No matter how good a procurement system is, or how stringent the checks and balances are, lapses may still occur because people can bypass policies and guidelines (“Public bodies rapped over lack of diligence in tenders”; April 2).

From the public perspective, GeBiz seems to be a fair system to ensure healthy competition. But one does not really know the process behind calling for quotes and awarding contracts.

I have given my feedback to the Finance and Education ministries regarding seemingly “orchestrated” tenders and Invitations-to-Quote (ITQs). I have seen enough and consolidated enough information to conclude that there are still agencies putting up ITQs that create a competitive advantage for their preferred service providers.

Procurement ethics and integrity must be upheld by public sector agencies when dealing with service providers.

Sometimes, it is painful when my company proposes a programme and the relevant agency puts up the ITQ, using the idea, specifications and requirements. But the next thing you know, another company is awarded the contract because it has submitted the lowest quote.

Sometimes you cannot blame the agencies. Based on the business excellence model, they are told to build good relationships with their suppliers and sustain results and outcomes.

But are they supposed to sustain results by using the same service providers who have proven track records and delivered the desired outcomes? Or are they supposed to change vendors each time, even though the previous provider was good?

I hope the Government and relevant agencies can enlighten the public on their policies.

Delane Lim

Group Chief Executive Officer

Agape Group Holdings

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