The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has conducted a public opening of tenders it has received from some 300 road construction companies bidding for various contracts to construct cocoa roads across the country.
For the very first time ever, the organisation chose to source contractors for cocoa roads through a public competitive tender process.
In response to the three-week-long advertisement of the road projects in the national media, COCOBOD received almost 800 bids by the tender submission deadline which was 11am today, 20th November 2019.
43 road contracts will be awarded for construction in this first batch of cocoa road projects.
The road projects are in the Western North, Oti, Volta, Western, Central, Bono, Ahafo and Eastern Regions.
A member of the management team disclosed that COCOBOD’s decision to break away from the usual sole sourcing and restrictive tendering practice in favour of an open public competitive tender process followed immediately by a tender opening event, which was also open to the general public, was in other to introduce greater transparency, take away acts of favouritism and nepotism while ensuring value for money through competitive pricing.
The secrecy which has normally characterised the award of cocoa road projects in the past has been linked to many poor-quality road construction projects and project price inflations.
The current government suspended cocoa road projects for an audit to be conducted after anomalies with such contracts awarded by the previous government were detected.
The suspension allowed for a re-scoping and proper alignment of funds to execute cocoa road projects.
The government has since lifted the suspension and given the go ahead for the fixing of deplorable roads leading to cocoa farms nationwide.
The public competitive tender process was open to all road construction companies that meet the publicised requirements. The received tenders will be submitted to a committee that will evaluate each to determine that the tenders do indeed meet the standardised requirements.
The tenders will then go either to the central tender committee or the entity tender committee, which will make their recommendations to the management for COCOBOD before management awards the contracts.
As part of the requirement for bidding, each construction company is expected to submit proof of having met all tax and social security obligations; have certification from the labour authorities; have approval from the Public Procurement Authority as well as a valid certificate from the roads and highways authority.
The companies also have to show that they have the financial capacity, the experience and the right personnel to successfully execute the road projects for which they bid.
The committees, which are tasked with ensuring value for money, will check for realistic pricing within the tenders submitted and select the lowest responsive bidder.
This way good pricing is assured without compromising the best quality in the road constructions.
Though this kind of evaluation process can take up to three months, it is expected that the committee will fast track the process, so contracts can be awarded sometime in January 2020.
BY Melvin Tarlue