Corruption public procurement: CCP to involve investigative agencies in crackdown

Published: December 3, 2011

Cartelisation has become a norm in Pakistan rather than an exception.

Cartelisation has become a norm in Pakistan rather than an exception. Cartelisation has become a norm in Pakistan rather than an exception.
ISLAMABAD: 

Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has decided to involve federal investigation agencies to crackdown on those responsible for corruption in public procurement, as the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) has estimated $8 billion annual loss in the government sector, said a top official.

Abdul Ghaffar, Member Cartel and Trade Abuses of CCP, revealed in his presentation that Pakistan spends 25% of the total national output or $55 billion on public procurement and out of that $8 billion are lost either because of collusion or mis-procurement.

He spoke at the last session of two-day international conference on “Competition Enforcement Challenges and Consumer Welfare in Developing Countries”.

“By making the system effective the government can save at least $8 billion per annum”, said Ghaffar. The estimated saving is even more than what the United States intends to give in five years under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act.

“As a way forward, the CCP has decided to exchange information with the National Accountability Bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency to curb collusive bidding after PPRA’s disclosure”, said Ghaffar.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Nadeemul Haque said that there were cartels that existed in the public sector with the support of the government and the CCP should take action against them.

CCP Chairperson Rahat Kaunain Hassan said that the PPRA did not have powers to enforce any penalty in case of unearthing a violation. “The PPRA law is defective and needs improvement,” she added. She said the cartelisation has become a norm in Pakistan rather than an exception.

She said that the CCP law applied on collusive bidding by going into prohibited agreements. The CCP is authorised to impose a penalty of Rs75 million or 10% of turnover on those found involved in collusive bidding for public procurement.

Ghaffar said Punjab and Sindh have enforced PPRA Rules, 2004 but in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa procurement is regulated under Public Procurement of Goods Works and Services Rules, 2008 and in Baluchistan and Gilgit-Baltistan Procurement is managed by provincial departments under their purchase manuals.

Ghaffar said the public procurement was an area which was “highly susceptible to collusive bidding”.

Citing examples of collusive bidding that caused losses to the exchequer, Ghaffar said that Pakistan Jute Mills Association and its ten members colluded in supply of grain sacks, prompting the CCP to impose Rs23 million in fines. He said that the following year in the same nature of contract the government saved Rs250 million after it broke the cartel.

He said that in a case involding dredging companies, the CCP imposed Rs50 million in fines after unearthing a cartel but the parties went to the Sindh High Court and obtained a stay order.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2011.

Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act as Kerry-Lugar- Brahman Act. The correction has been made. 

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Reader Comments (3)

  • shahjee
    Dec 3, 2011 - 1:23PM

    Pls correct: Its Berman in the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act, not ‘Brahaman’…
    .

    Are you guys in love with Dr. Nadeem? This conference was about CCP, not PC! seems odd that ET chose to put Dr. Nadeem’s photo on the front, when the conference was all about CCP and its chairperson’s photo should have been featured alone… Recommend

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Dec 3, 2011 - 3:00PM

    I don’t know we have the pciture of the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. This is about the CCP.

    The issue of non-competitive behaviour in all its manifestations has a long and undistinguised history in Pakistan. It goes back to the toothless Monopoly Control Authority set up in the 70s in response to the emergence of the 22-families. It did nothing except provide cushy jobs for the boys and girls.

    The CCP is a much more viable institution and has its work cut out. I hope they will not disappoint.

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  • A. Khan
    Dec 4, 2011 - 5:55PM

    Why not take action against APTMA and APSMA, two of the biggest cartels who blackmail and threaten every government ? Given that most of the spinning/sugar mill owners are in parliament, its small wonder they get away with it. Hence my assessment that this department is a waste of time.

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