Monday, April 19, 2021

Business Operators Express Concerns over Contracts Awarded to International Bidders

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By Ndey Sowe

Gambian business companies have expressed their concerns on how hard it is for them to win big bids in the country, which are mostly won by international bidders.

The firms raised this concern on Friday, September 25th, 2020, during a five-day training program organized by GFS Business Development and sponsored by NAOSU with help from the European Union (EU). The training was aimed at training consultants and contractors on EU Tendering, Finance and Contract issues.

Eonest A Mendy, a junior consultant from Emanic Consulting, said the training will help them to understand procurement processes and how to tender for bids. He said international firms usually get most of the big bids in The Gambia which can be done by local firms.

Mendy added that the training will also expose them to know the loopholes that disqualify them from getting contracts, as well as, show them the right procedures that they were not exposed to before.

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“This will guide us and it will show that they (EU) actually have an interest in making sure Gambian firms benefit from these projects rather than giving it to their European counterparts,” he said, adding that the knowledge gained will be shared with his comrades.

“We want to see Gambian firms to be progressive, as firms that were here during independence are no more here and we should try to make the firms last longer than our live span,” he said.

Jay Cessay, the Project Manager Cayor Enterprises Limited, said the training gave them an overview of how general procurement practice operates, noting that the training has made them realized that sometimes the problem they faced in applying for bids often stemmed from the fact that they operate as consultants, suppliers or contractors at the same time.

“When it comes for tendering processes, it is hard for Gambian companies to be given chance. We have to usually partner with foreign companies that have most of these projects,” she said.

Ceesay further said the training is an eye-opener for most of them, while noting that from now on, she would be careful and follow the tendering guidelines they were trained on.

Gheran Senghore, the CEO GFS Business Development, said the training was organized due to the shortcomings Gambia businesses were grappling with.

“Whenever there is a bidding process from the EU or World Bank or any other body, you find out that Gambians don’t win because they don’t really know the processes involve in applying for these tenders,” he said.

Senghore said most winning bidders are from international firms who partner with Gambians firms to get the job done and at the end, the Gambian firms do not end up having the bigger share. He is however optimistic that after the training, Gambians will win bigger bids because a large part of procurement and tendering processes have been covered during the training.

Gibril Njie, Resource Person/ Lead Consultant, said the training was an opportunity for participants to explore issues and he commended them for their commitment and dedication throughout the training.

“I hope that your firms will last beyond your live span for the future generation to ensure that Gambia will harness progress in bidding processes,” he said.

Momodou Samateh, EU/NAOSU representative said they hoped to see an increase in participation from Gambian firms when EU bids are announced in the country.

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