Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) has requested that the Minister of Interior investigate the accusations surrounding the award of a $29.7 million contract for thirty million Smart CNIC Cards.
TIP stated in its letter that it had received a complaint alleging a violation of the PPRA Rules 2004 in the award of a contract for thirty million smart cards on a Single Bid basis at a loss of $25 million to the exchequer, against the market price of 3 cents per card plus 7 cents for printing (including security features) and freight.
In February of this year, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) invited a tender for the procurement of Smart Cards, according to the complainant.
The technical evaluation was to be done in a single stage, two envelop manner, and the technical evaluation report was to be uploaded on the PPRA website, but NADRA did not post the Technical Evaluation Report on the PPRA website as required by Rule 35.
It stated that smart card technology has advanced in the last ten years, and that smart cards, including SIM/RFID, are currently made and sold in China for an advertised price of roughly 3 cents for quantities greater than 10,000.
Security features are not required when a SIM/RFID is present on a NADRA CNIC, as this has become a normal international practice; for example, all banks provide ATMs/Credit Cards with embedded SIMs and no security features. However, in order to benefit the supplier, NADRA has kept unneeded security elements that have increased the card’s price.
On March 10, 2022, NADRA invited proposals and got three. NADRA declared M/s Gemalto and M/s Idemia’s bids ineligible, while M/s SELP’s bid was certified qualified.
The technical evaluation report was supposed to be published on the PPRA website and delivered to the bidders for objections, however, NADRA did not provide it.
M/s SELP’s single bid of $0.99 per card for a total contract price of $29.7 million was accepted on April 7, 2022.
TIP stated in its letter that NADRA broke two PPRA Rule 38 B sub-conditions by approving the sole proposal.
The first is that the rates should be appropriate, as they are 91 percent more than the market price, and the second is that when pre-qualification is done (as specified in the Evaluation Report, two offers are disqualified Annex-D), only one bid can be accepted.
TIP has asked the Minister of the Interior to investigate the allegations and, if they are found to be true, to take immediate action to halt the contract award and issue orders to invite new tenders for the procurement of smart cards, removing difficult security features and saving the government $25 million.