Move underway to change procurement method of $1bn EDC project


A move is underway to change the procurement method of the government’s ‘Establishing Digital Connectivity (EDC)’ project.

Under the move, the ICT Division will procure goods and services worth $1 billion (equivalent to Tk 8,000 crore) through Limited Tendering Method (LTM) instead of earlier approved Direct Procurement Method (DPM).

According to official sources, the ICT Division under the Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministry has initiated the move as per the suggestion of Prime Minister’s ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy.

Officials at the division said they have already placed a proposal to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs to bring such major change to the procurement process.

Once it is approved, all goods and services under the EDC project will be purchased through the LTM on the government-to-government (G-to-G) basis instead of DPM, said a top official.

He explained that it will allow them to invite tender from different state-owned Chinese companies instead of buying goods from any particular Chinese company.

The official said the EDC project has been among the 25 priority projects to be implemented by the Chinese credits for which the government signed contracts during the Chinese President’s visit last year.

As per the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the Chinese Exim Bank will finance the project and the government will have to buy the goods and services from a certain state-owned Chinese company under the DPM.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had also approved such DPM process on November 30, 2016.

But ICT Division decided to change the method in a meeting on December 10 last where the PM’s ICT Adviser was present.

“We’ve taken the decision as per the advice of the PM’s Adviser to make the procurement process more competitive,” said a top official preferring anonymity.

Officials said the government undertook the EDC project to achieve eight goals and offer more digital services to people.

The goals include building up a national communication network for faster internet service at the field level and offering the internet service to people at a lower cost, establishing Sheikh Russel Digital Lab at educational institutions and ensuring efficient use of ICT in the government’s e-service and other regular activities.