BIA runway : Access tells its story

23 March 2015 06:40 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Access Engineering PLC (AEL) informed the Colombo Stock Exchange that it had followed proper procedure in acquiring the US $ 85 million contract to repair the runway at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), contrary to earlier reports.
Mirror Business quoted Cabinet Spokesperson Minister Rajitha Senaratne last week, who said that the government annulled the contract due to the company’s lack of experience and not following a competitive tender process.
“We acknowledge with respect, the decision taken by the Cabinet of Ministers on the project… AEL values as well as practices transparency and principles of good governance in all its dealings and transactions,” the AEL statement replied. Replaying the narrative, AEL said that the government had called for international tenders with finance in January 2013, but then had switched to finances drawn from local banks and had chosen to give local contractors the project.
According to it, Nawaloka Construction Company, Maga Engineering (Pvt.) Ltd, Tudawe Brothers Ltd, Sierra Construction (Pvt.) Ltd and AEL had been present at meetings convened by the Treasury Secretary in December 2013, where the revised decisions were conveyed. At this point, the local contractors had expressed that they neither possess the required experience, nor the pre-qualifications to carry out the project, to which the Secretary had suggested the local contractors collaborate with foreign parties to gain such qualifications and submit their proposals.  “The local contractors present were informed that this is a great opportunity to enhance their capacity and avail to themselves the opportunity to be prequalified for any future works in the region,” the statement said. The government had also conveyed that if the local contractors were unable to form a suitable consortium, it would have been forced to select an international contractor from the previous tender call.
AEL said that it had partnered with US-based Louise Berger Group and Japanese contractors Katahira & Engineers International and World Kaihatzu Kogyo Company Ltd and ascertained the exact scope of the project by consulting Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd (AASL) prior to submitting a proposal. Following discussions and negotiations with the Cabinet-Appointed Negotiation Committee and Procurement Committee July through October, a sum of US $ 85.77 million was agreed upon and AASL had extended a letter of acceptance in December, granting the project to AEL, which the contractor had accepted. While AEL and its foreign partners were mobilising to carry out the project, they had, on two occasions requested, and had been granted extensions by AASL till the end of February to submit relevant performance security document. It appears that the change of regime in January brought the project to the spotlight, along with the Colombo Port City, the expressways and the TATA Housing projects, since AASL had informed AEL that the project was under review. AEL said that it had forwarded the aforementioned information to the authorities.  (CW)
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