The Zambian Voice says the Ministry of Agriculture has suspiciously awarded a tender to supply 101,826 metric tonnes of Top Urea Fertiliser for 2015/2016 farming season to Nyiombo Investments Limited and Neria’s Investments Limited.
According to a letter dated 11th May 2015 from the Ministry of Agriculture signed by Head of Procurement and supplies unit Sylvia Sichone, there were 13 bidders who tendered for the fertilizer contract.
The tender was to deliver and supply fertilizer to Muchinga and Northern provinces in Lot 1, Luapula and Central provinces in Lot 2, Copperbelt and North-western provinces which is called Lot 3 and Southern and Western provinces which is called LOT 4 including Lusaka and Eastern provinces in LOT 5.
Zambian Voice Executive Director Chilufya Tayali said the bidding companies applied according to LOTS and therefore one would expect various companies supplying different places of the country mentioned above.
Mr Tayali said surprisingly only two companies were chosen to supply throughout the Country.
He said Nyiombo Investment Ltd was given LOT 1, 2, and 3 worth a total of USD$56 million while Neira’s Investment Ltd got LOT 5 worth USD$22 Million.
Mr Tayali said looking at the companies that bid, the two companies were the highest in pricing saying the average price for Nyiombo Investment for LOT 1 to 4 was at USD$990 per ton while the lowest was USD$597 per ton.
“For LOT 5 Neira’s bid was USD$882 per ton while the lowest was USD$600. Analyzing everything you can clearly see that Zambians should have spent about USD$38 Million but they will have to spend USD$78 million making a loss of about USD$40 Million,” M Tayali said.
“While we appreciate that the lowest bidder might not be the best supplier, the difference is just too wide and there are many companies to choose from as alternatives other than choosing the two highest bidders on the same product, most likely from the same source,” Mr Tayali said.
He has since demanded that the Ministry of Agriculture explains the rationale used to pick these two expensive companies.
“We also have information to believe that the two companies have been friends of the PF party for some time and this is like a payback time. We demand that this tender is investigated before money is disbursed. We will bring the issue before the ACC so that they can also investigate why Zambians have to pay more when they should be saving,” Mr Tayali said.