Mamuni Das

New Delhi, March 17

THE consultancy arm of Indian Railways, RITES Ltd, has won a contract in Afghanistan to provide procurement facilitation services for the ongoing reconstruction work in the war-ravaged country.

RITES would help procure equipment for various projects across sectors, including airports, navigation, power plants, communications facility and pharmaceutical.

RITES bagged the contract in an international competitive bidding. Others in race for the contract include UK-based Crown Agents and Charles, Kendall & Partners, Denmark-based UNDP Interagency Procurement Services, Bangladesh based-FMEC International, GID International and BV. Earlier, the work was being carried out by UK-based Crown Agents. The official sources, however, declined to share the value of the contract for "competitive reasons".

The corporation won the project from Afghanistan Reconstruction and Development Services (ARDS), as a part of the World Bank funded Public Administration and Capacity Building Project.

ARDS is a part of the Ministry of Reconstruction, Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan and helps provide centralised technical assistance in areas including procurement and financial management. ARDS was formerly called the Afghan Assistance Coordination Authority.

Apart from assisting Afghan authorities to put in place an emergency procurement capacity, RITES officials would also be working for the Line Ministries in Afghanistan in carrying out the procurement of goods, works and services for various operations. Those operations could be financed by International Development Association (IDA), IDA-administrated Trust Fund and non-IDA funding contracts and could include local funding for "achieving economy, efficiency and transparency in procurements for the ongoing reconstruction work," he said.

"We would also engage consultants for various project designs and management capacity building," added an official. The procurement advice will include planning, bid document preparation, inviting and evaluating bids, obtaining clearance from funding agencies, preparing contractual documents, goods inspection, as well as dispute resolution. "The final approval for all the procurement would be provided by the donor agency," added the official.

With a net profit of Rs 48 crore and turnover of Rs 285 crore in fiscal 2003-04, RITES has been recording a CAGR of 15.06 per cent. Out of the Rs 285 crore, Rs 111 crore was income from overseas, while Rs 174 crore was domestic income.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 18, 2005)
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