BRIAN CHITEMBA THE Ministry of Local Government and Public Works awarded a contract to supply Isuzu trucks to Sino Truck because it was the lowest bidder with tender specifications, which were approved by the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Praz), the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
The ministry was criticised for bungling the tender for 29 Isuzu 4×4 after Sino Truck only managed to supply 17 out of 19 vehicles paid for by the government.
The Independent recently revealed that Sino Truck supplied single-cab Isuzu 4×2 vehicles, instead of the 4×4 trucks, which were outlined in the tender documents.
However, in response the Local Government and Public Works ministry said Sino Truck had challenges buying the 29 Isuzu 4×4 due to foreign currency shortages.
“Sino Truck had in stock 17, 4×2 Isuzu single-cab vehicles and was having problems in obtaining US dollars cash, for the payment, from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) auction system,” the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works said.
“The company then offered the ministry the already available 17 4×2 Isuzu vehicles or wait for the RBZ to provide the foreign currency from the auction system.
“The company also took into consideration that the 4×2 Isuzu vehicles price was lower than the 4×4 by US$201 150 and then this variation was to be compensated by supplying three extra 4×2 Isuzu single cabs and one double cab.
“The ministry then applied for a variation of the specifications to Praz.
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“The request was referred to the Special Procurement Oversight Committee (SPOC), who advised the ministry to do a due diligence exercise.
“The ministry did due diligence by sourcing quotations, for the Isuzu single 4×2 cabs, from other Isuzu dealers and discovered that their quotations were actually expensive.
“After conducting the due diligence, Praz then approved the variation on the 29th of March 2022 and Sino Trucks was advised to proceed and supply as per their counter offer,” it said.
The ministry defended the 4×2 Isuzu trucks saying they cost less and were more fuel-efficient and have lower maintenance costs than 4×4 vehicles.
“This is an advantage to the ministry due to lower maintenance costs, nevertheless there are districts in urban areas and others with good road infrastructure where there is no need for a 4×4 vehicle, therefore, the ministry made considerations to take the 4×2 vehicles,” it said.
“Sino truck has so far managed to supply 12 Isuzu 4×2 single trucks and the company has promised to supply the remaining consignment, including the four top up vehicles once the ministry has paid the balance due as per contract.”
The local government ministry added: “With regards to the 30-tonne truck that was reported in the newspaper article, the procurement was done through the Central Mechanical and Equipment Department (CMED) on behalf of the ministry, in line with the Treasury Circular of 8 of 2018 on vehicle procurement policy, the truck was delivered to CMED in 2020 and the trailer was delivered in March this year.
“The ministry is waiting for CMED to train the drivers to drive the 30 tonne truck and once this is done the vehicle will be delivered to the ministry.
“Yes, there was a delay in the delivery of the truck. However, CMED attributed the delay of the delivery of the trailer to the Covid-19 pandemic, which disrupted the shipping of non-essential goods.”