There is a significant disparity between the government engineers’ estimate and the bids being submitted by contractors to the National Procurement and Tender Administration (NPTAB). In some cases, the bids are millions of dollars less than the engineer’s estimate, which should raise some red flags.

At least this is the belief of an official attached to the Guyana Association of Professional Engineers (GAPE). Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the engineer said that government engineers’ estimates are questionable, and leaves room for irregularities to occur.

“The engineer’s estimate is what it is, an estimate. But bidding millions of dollars below just points to other things happening. Engineer’s estimates take into consideration the parameters, or specifications in which structures should [be] built. So, when you have a contractor’s estimate that takes those same parameters into consideration but is that much lower, it is worrying,”

The engineer added, “Then contractors don’t work for free…If they go so low [on the bidding], they will be looking to make a profit still. So logically, costs have to be cut. And it is when those costs are cut, that the standard [of the work] is jeopardized,”

The official explained that often, contracts are awarded to companies who bid the lowest, while some contracts are granted to firms that bid closest to the engineer’s estimate. These policies tend to vary by ministries, the GAPE official explained.

The engineer pointed out that there are some instances in which these disparities can be justified. This includes mobilisation and accessibility to resources.

A case in point would be the award of the contract to rehabilitate the Lethem Aerodrome in region 9 (Upper Takatu/Upper Essequibo was estimated by a government engineer to cost some $183M. However, a local contractor will be executing the project for $137.2M. This represents $45.8M less than the estimated cost.

Moreover, the contracted cost represents 75% or ¾ of the cost that the engineer attached to the Public Infrastructure Ministry had initially stated would be sufficient to complete the project. The company, H. Nauth and Sons, was among the four contractors that bid for the project in July of this year.

The Guyana Standard was able to speak with the company’s engineer, Colin Bowen, who explained that the company was able to bid for the project $45M below the estimated cost because it has an asphalt plant located in Lethem.

However, Bowen said that at least two of the other companies that vied for the project do not have asphalt plants in and around Lethem, and he was quick to point out that despite not having the timely accessibility to asphalt, these companies still submitted bids that were in some cases $40M below the engineer’s estimate.



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