Islamabad -  The National Highway Authority has made it clear that the bidding process is followed as per the requirements of the donor agencies, agreed in advance by the government of Pakistan at the time of loan signing agreements.

In a clarification about certain observations made by the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) in its recent study on road construction sector in Pakistan, and reported in a section of media, the NHA has clarified regarding bidding process of the CPEC projects, which were not covered in the subject study.

It said NHA works under the Ministry of Communications, and being a government entity, essentially follow rules and regulations laid down by PPRA and Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) for all projects financed through government of Pakistan funding. However, for the projects implemented under foreign funding and government to government concessional loans, the bidding process is followed as per the requirements of the donor agencies, agreed in advance by the government of Pakistan at the time of loan signing agreements.

Multilateral Development Banks such as Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB), IDB etc drive their financial resources from various countries, and therefore only partner countries contractors can participate, the NHA said further. However, when concessional loans are signed by the government with a single country such as China, Korea or Japan, the donor agency of that country, most likely Export Import Banks (EXIM Banks) levy restricted bidding environment, specifically to contractors of that country. It is a standard international practice. In case of Peoples Republic of China, only State-owned companies, that too, nominated by the government of China can bid in the lender country. The same situation happened in CPEC projects, where Pakistani contractors could not participate. However, a large number of local contractors were hired by Chinese companies to sublet part of their works, which not only helped them out financially, but the transfer of technology also occurred, the NHA officials added.

They said the highway projects under CPEC are going ahead of their planned schedule and well within the approved budget and PC-1 costs, following strict quality control under the supervision of international experts.