By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Wed 18 Apr. 2012, 13:28 CAT
THE government has removed from fertiliser tender documents clauses that restricted FISP contracts to named companies, in a move analysts say will for the first time make the fertiliser supply tender process "open and competitive".
For the last eight years, fertiliser contracts, under the Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP), now Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP)m, have been dominated by Nyiombo Investments and Omnia Fertiliser Zambia, although the state-owned Nitrogen Chemicals had been given contracts to supply limited quantities of compounded D after massive outcries.
The government is seeking tenders for the supply and delivery of 64,028.50 metric tonnes of basal dressing fertiliser and 89,605.50 metric tonnes of top dressing fertiliser for the 2012-2013 agriculture seasons.
The Zambia Public Procurement Authority, on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, now invites sealed bids from manufacturers and reputable suppliers for the supply and delivery of 64, 028.50 metric tonnes of basal dressing and 89,605.50 metric tonnes top dressing fertiliser.
Following adjustments to the bidding document, the closing date for the 2012-2013 tender for fertiliser supply has been extended from April 20 to April 27, 2012 to cater for the new adjustments.
According to sources who attended last Friday's meeting, agriculture permanent secretary Dr David Shamulenga who chaired the meeting, prevailed over the removal of clauses that hedged off other bidders from the fertiliser support programme.
The sources said "technocrats at director level from the ministry of agriculture" with their colleagues from ZPPA looked uncomfortable deleting clauses that favoured Nyiombo and Omnia.
Before the Friday amendments, the bidding document for the tender for the supply and delivery of 153,634 metric tonnes of basal and top dressing fertiliser had among other skewed clauses the following: "Selection of fertiliser importers and local distributors, fertiliser suppliers/importers will be selected using the open tender system, based on the following criteria: Fertiliser suppliers/importers should have a track record, credible, and demonstrate that they have the capacity (including financial capacity) to deliver.
"Under financial capacity, bidders shall show proof of having available financial resources or lines of credit from reputable commercial banks equivalent to the monetary value of the fertiliser quantities in the zones quoted for; Bidders should own or rent warehouses, or show proof that they have made arrangements for storage of the commodity at designated central points.
The warehouses or storage facilities should have sufficient capacity to stock fertiliser quantities for the zones quoted for; Evidence of having supplied Fertiliser including the quantities supplied; Bidders Suppliers should provide copies of contracts/orders awarded including delivery notes."
According to the sources, only Nyiombo Investments and Omnia satisfied the stated clauses.
The sources also said the bid security document which exclusively only allowed for bank guarantees was adjusted to include for insurance bonds from reputable insurance companies.
"Hon Emmauel Chenda is progressive, and so is the PS permanent secretary Dr Shamulenga but where we have the problem is at the level of directors who are supposed to be technocrats," the sources said.
"From the outset, in fact, when he just became minister, Hon Chenda had indicated that he wanted things to change in the ministry - to rid the ministry of corruption, but you can see that he and the PS have a mountain to climb."