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The award of a US$18M contract by Guyana Power and Light to China National Machinery Import and Export (CMC)/China Sinogy Electric Engineering Company limited under the Guyana Power Utility Upgrade Programme was justified byPublic Infrastructure Minister, David PattersonMinister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, who said that the company was the lowest responsive bidder.During the consideration of the 2017 estimates of revenue and expenditure last week in the Committee of Supply of the National Assembly, Patterson was asked to explain the allocation of $1.2B to be plugged into the Power Utility Upgrade Programme (PUUP).Opposition parliamentarian, Juan Edghill highlighted that out of $2B budgeted in 2016 for the project, only $330M was expended. In his explanation, Patterson said that the initial expenditure by the government was spent on Lot A of the programme which is funded by the European Union and International Development Bank.He said that the delay in implementing the project was as a result of the contract only recently being awarded to the Chinese company. Patterson said that the contract cost stands at $4.6 billion. He said that the engineer’s estimate was $3.9 billion,After providing this information, Patterson was asked to state whether the company was the lowest bidder. “I could indicate clearly that the contractor that was awarded this bid was the lowest responsive bidder.”Based on information received by this publication a responsive bidder is an entity that would have satisfied all the requirements to be a successful bidder.According to Patterson, the procurement regulations state that the contract is to be awarded to the lowest responsive bidder which was done. Edghill then posed the question to Patterson whether he can explain why the evaluators would have chosen a company whose bidding price was almost $1B above the engineer’s estimate.He said, “This contract is a part of a much larger contract for US$64M and at the time of the tender this was the engineer’s estimate. But after,Air Max a Vendre En Belgique, there was a delay in terms of the assessment. So when the assessment was done, the cost was determined by the evaluators to be fair and they were recommended to us, not only to the government of Guyana but also to the IDB as well as the EU.”When asked if he was aware of any pending protests by the other bidders, the Minister said that he has not been notified of any such intention by the other bidders. Further, Edghill asked whether since the contract was awarded after the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission, why did it not play a part in selecting the successful bidder.Patterson informed the House that the PPC is not yet operational.Five companies tendered for the project- China National Machinery Import and Export/Sino Hydro Corporation (China)- $7.1B; Multi Electrical System N.V. (Suriname)- $6.4B; China National Machinery Import and Export (CMC)/China Sinogy Electric Engineering Co. Limited – $4.6B; Cummings Electrical Limited- $3.67B and Enrique Lourido/Fixit Depot- $3.5B.The award to the Chinese company had raised eyebrows since the company was involved in the construction of seven sub-stations, running new high powered transmissions along the coastland and the laying of two submarine cables across the Demerara and Berbice rivers.The cable which was laid across the Demerara River was damaged in July under unknown circumstances. This left the East Demerara and Berbice areas without additional power being supplied by the new Vreed-en-Hoop power station for a number of months.The Utility programme includes the provision for loss reduction, rehabilitation and upgrading of distribution networks, upgrade/relocation of distribution transformers, implementation of systems management software and institutional strengthening.The IDB will be looking over the implementation of the entire US$65M project.

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