With the collusion of the World Bank consultant, Director procurement BISP and many higher ups of BISP are involved in massive corruption and are trying to award the contracts worth billions to selected few firms/organizations before this government is dissolved. Unless NAB, PPRA and World bank gets involved immediately, there will be irreparable loss to the national exchequer. 

BISP invited Expressions of Interest (EOI) through open tendering in June 2017 out carry out the house to house survey. However, an ambiguous evaluation criteria and non-merit based evaluation process for selection of carrying out the survey has put serious doubts on the transparency and authenticity of the activity. 

Following anomalies have been identified in the entire process: 

The evaluation criteria encourages formation of Joint Ventures to compliment resources and expertise of bidding organizations. However, during evaluation of the EOI’s each member of the Joint Venture has been evaluated separately, and each member is expected to fulfill the financial requirements. This is against the accepted method of evaluation of the joint ventures, where in the joint ventures are evaluated as a sum of experience and financial position of each partner, rather than evaluating each separately and requiring each to fulfill the criteria. As a result instead of complimenting each other the formation of joint ventures has negated the experience of lead partner. As a result in several cases of leading organizations (including internationally renowned research organizations have not even been short listed) 

Several leading data collection organizations have not been shortlisted because they included local organizations to ensure proper outreach and social mobilization. The local organizations do not have the same financial capacity as required 

Organizations such as RSPN and NRSP have been excluded from the competition on the basis of not having been registered with Sales Tax or having been in active on Sales Tax Payers List. It is well known fact that the services being carried out by these organizations does not fall under the ambit of Sales Tax. Further they could have been allowed to apply for and get their Sales Tax Registration and submit it with the detailed proposal however they were not given that opportunity, despite having technical expertise, skills and outreach to carry out the activity. 

In order to silence RSPN, BISP has been sole sourced its Waseela-Taleem programme against all PPRA rules, which clearly state there must be solid reason for sole sourcing these contracts. There are many organizations who can do work under Waseela-Taleem programme and there was no justification to single source the contract to RSPN. Again the violation of PPRA rules. 

In any other project the past experience is always given more weightage. In BISP if an organization has experience they and carried out house to house survey in the initial survey 7 years ago, they are automatically rejected. This is done specifically to narrow the field and to selected the handpicked organizations. 

Due to the ambiguity in the evaluation criteria and issues not relevant to the technical expertise the leading organizations with 20+ years of experience were thrown out of the competition. 

Only 3 firms were selected to submit proposals for 5 clusters thus limiting the competition to the favored few and at the same time ensuring that they were awarded work at any cost. 2 organizations are getting contracts of around 3 Billion each. 

Merit and transparency has been thrown out of the window during the selection process is even more evident from the fact that one of the 3 awardees, which has been awarded 2 out of the 5 awarded clusters is either not registered as a Sales Tax Payee or not on the Active Tax Payer List. The same reason for which other organizations were not even short listed. 

It is pertinent to note that BISP, which is responsible for the selection is not an active tax payer list itself. 

The above point raise question of what is the criteria on basis of which these awards have been made. Why is there a separate rule for different organizations? Is the biggest social safety net for welfare of the poor now a source for minting money by the officials on one pre text or the other? Furthermore if BISP is itself in active tax payer, where is the money being deducted from the payments to the Contractors in name of tax going? 

It is high time that such awards are investigated by the NAB so that not only monies from the national exchequer be saved from corrupt practices but also to ensure that a reputed program such as BISP does not become a source of lining the pockets of the people who have been made responsible for welfare of the poorest of the poor. 

ALI KHAN,  

Lahore, March 19.