Transparency International Demands Probe Into Smart CNICs Contract Worth $30 Million

Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) has asked the Minister of Interior to examine the allegations in the award of the contract of 30 million Smart CNIC Cards worth $29.7 million.

TIP in its letter stated that it has received a complaint on the allegation of violation of PPRA Rules 2004 in the award of contract of 30 million smart cards, worth $29.7 million on a Single Bid basis against the market price of 3 cents per card plus 7 cents for printing (including security features) and freight, at a loss of $25 million to the exchequer.

The complainant mentioned that National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) invited a tender for the procurement of 30 million Smart Cards in February 2022.

The NADRA invited the bids on a single stage, two envelop method in which the technical evaluation is carried out, and the technical evaluation report was to be posted on the PPRA website, but NADRA did not post on PPRA website the Technical Evaluation Report in accordance with Rule 35 on 28th June 2021.

It mentioned that the smart card technology has changed in the last 10 years and now smart cards are manufactured and supplied from China which includes Sim/RFID, at an advertised price of about 3 cents for the quantity above 10,000.

In presence of Sim/RFID on NADRA CNIC, security features are not necessary as it has become a common international practice, for example; all banks issue ATMs/Credit Cards with inbuilt Sim, without any security feature. However, NADRA has retained unnecessary security features which have added to the price of the card, just to benefit the supplier.

NADRA opened bids on 10th March 2022 and it received three bids subsequently the bids of M/s Gemalto & M/s Idemia were declared disqualified and the bid of M/s SELP was declared qualified by NADRA.

According to PPRA Rule 35 (amended), the technical evaluation report was to be published on the PPRA website and given to the bidders for objections but was not given by NADRA.

On April 7, 2022, a single bid of M/s SELP was accepted at a price of $0.99 per card at a total contract price of $29.7 million.

TIP in its letter claimed that NADRA has violated two sub-conditions of PPRA Rule 38 B while accepting the single bid.

The first violation is the rates should be reasonable which are 91% higher than the market price and the second violation is that when pre-qualification is conducted (as described in Evaluation Report that two bids are disqualified Annex-D) then a single bid cannot be accepted.

TIP requested the Federal Minister of Interior to examine the allegations,  and if allegations are found to be correct, take immediate action to stop the award of the contract,  and issue orders for inviting new tenders for the procurement of smart cards, eliminating difficult conditions of security features so the government can save $25 Million in the procurement of $29.7 Million.

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