Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) is streamlining its procurement system and has entrusted the task of handling tenders to three high-powered committees. CEO SLT Greg Young told the Business Times that, a technical evaluation committee, commercial evaluation committee and tender awarding committee comprising four board members of SLT will evaluate tenders in an initiative aimed at increasing transparency, reducing cost of doing business, reducing duplicity, bringing out more efficient purchasing process and most importantly tackling corruption . SLT Board member Shamindra Rajapaksa is the chairman of the tender awarding committee, he said.
The task of the technical evaluation committee is to shortlist bids considering its technical eligibility and it has nothing to do with looking into financial aspect, Mr .Young said adding that the commercial evaluation committee is entrusted with the responsibility of recommending the lowest suitable bidders while the final selection from these bidders will be made by the tender awarding committee. The members of technical evaluation and commercial evaluation committees will be changed from tender to tender and this procedure will increase the exposure in open tenders to the whole world and the system will enhance the competitive bidding practices adopted by SLT. Mr. Young said SLT has automated its procurement system and put it online to speed up delivery from its suppliers. In global tenders, the tender document can be downloaded by the foreign principal within few minutes after notification.
Replying to the union allegation that he was interfering in the work of the technical evaluation committee, Mr Young said that he is giving his independent opinion on recommendations made by procurement committees for the best interest of the SLT Board and not bypassing SLT standard procedures and processes. SLT trade unions alleged that the CEO SLT has made it very difficult for the members of procurement committees to take independent decisions by intervening and questioning them under the guise of faclitating the SLT’s Board requests. But Mr. Young noted that he has a duty to properly inform the tender awarding committee on the suitability of the bidder seeking clarifications from procurement committees.
A top Chinese telecom company has secured the contract for Sri Lanka’s much awaited five billion-rupee i-Sri Lanka project aimed at enhancing the fiber optic network in the island. Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) awarded the tender to Zhong Xing Telecommunication Equipment Company Limited (ZTE), China's largest listed telecommunications manufacturer and wireless solutions provider, by following proper technical and commercial evaluation procedures, he said.
A spokesman for the SLT joint trade union front told the Business Times, that the deal was finalized at a hurriedly arranged meeting attended by SLT CEO Greg Young, representatives of ZTE Company Ltd and some officials of technical evaluation committee. This was denied by the SLT.