Printing entrepreneurs object to EC’s tender notice

Entrepreneurs and businesspersons involved in printing have protested the Election Commission’s (EC) tender notice that sought about Rs. 40 million in annual transactions on an average in the past three years to be eligible to print the ballot papers.

They also warned that they would move to court if the election body did not correct the notice.

“Many printing entrepreneurs will automatically be disqualified because of the provision of Rs. 40 million. This notice has come with the motive of listing a very small number of printing companies and getting unlawful benefits,” Federation of Nepal Printers’ Association (FNPA) said in the memorandum submitted to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dinesh Prasad Thapaliya the other day.

They claimed that the clause will deprive the ‘real printers’ of the opportunity of taking part in the bid. “If the EC doesn’t correct the notice, we will be forced to knock on the door of the court,” read the document submitted to Thapaliya by the president of FNPA Bagmati Province, Bhakta Shrestha.

The delegation included the presidents of the district association of the federation in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur.

They told the CEC that the provision was against the spirit of the Public Procurement Act and its bylaws.

The EC published a notice on Wednesday seeking to enlist the printers to procure the printing services for the elections of the members of the House of Representatives and Provincial Assemblies scheduled for November 20 this year.

However, the election body has set different criteria for respective works. A company having transactions of annual Rs. 10 million on an average in the past three fiscal years can take part in the competition to print color and black/white voter lists, and voter’s identity cards.

It wants the printers to have at least four digital color printing machines in workable condition, a punching machine with the capacity to punch 100 pages, and space enough to host four staff of the EC.

It has set the provision of Rs. 10 million for other printing works such as guidelines, cards, and reports.

Spokesperson of the EC Shaligram Sharma Paudel said that there was no ‘ill intention’ in setting the provisions.

“We want to select capable companies that could ensure the timely delivery of the required goods. It is about having capable printers competing among them,” he said.

According to him, the commission had put the same demand during the local level election held on May 13 as well.

CEC Thapaliya reiterated his commitment that the EC would devolve the printing responsibilities to the district election offices so that they could get the printing services from the local printers.

“The EC will procure all the services through a fair competition,” he said.

Source : TRN,