THE government’s economic managers are considering adopting nationwide a rule for government contractors requiring them to complete half of a project before first billing.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that he has revised the terms of reference for small projects under his department, such as office renovations, to avoid implementation delays.
Asked whether this would be applied to all national government projects in the future, Mr. Dominguez told reporters: “That’s what [Budget Secretary Benjamin E.] Diokno is thinking about.”
“I didn’t hear any opposition. (Awards to unqualified contractors are) generally [happening] in small jobs, but it’s so irritating,” he added.
In the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act. No. 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform law, the government is mandated to award projects to the lowest bidder, and is allowed to grant them advanced payments of up to 15% of the contract at any point.
Mr. Dominguez noted instances that some bidders will commit to handling the project, but will then be found to be incapable of finishing it.
“By the rules you have to give it to the lowest bidder. Obviously some are incapable of executing. A contractor can say he will finish it in four months, but it can take over a year to finish it,” he said.
“So we’re saying that we have to get contractors who can carry out the project without any advances from us. If not, they are defrauding the government,” he said.
“So what we are going to do now is implement a very low deposit for mobilization, then we say the first time that you can bill us is when you finish 50% of the work. At least we know that they have enough money to finish (until) 50%,” he added.
The scheme is expected to deter unqualified contractors from participating in bids.
“You have to stand the delay because you are in there already and you cannot get out, so they trap us into those things and I don’t want that to happen again,” Mr. Dominguez said. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan