DDL vs Rudisa: A very disturbing development – GCCI President

first_imgThe flipside of denying imports into Guyana to compete with local products would be a complete ban on such imports, but Guyana has had its share of unfavourable experiences in this arena.This is according to President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Vishnu Doerga, who in an exclusive interview with Guyana Times on Wednesday, decried as very worrying the fact the Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) could not meet the requirements with regard to the supplying of juices for the Government’s school feeding programme.That multimillion-dollar contract was recently awarded to Suriname-based Rudisa Beverages, generating significant debate over the pros and cons of such a move.GCCI President Vishnu DoergaThe GCCI President told Guyana Times, “I don’t want to believe it was as a result of wilful neglect, or any form of favouritism.”He was at the time speaking to the professionalism of the evaluators of bids.Procurement transparencyDoerga said too that the incident spoke to the need for a greater level of transparency when it came to the procurement requirements, and pointed to the fact that DDL might not have met the requirements, which led to the Suriname-based company being awarded the contract.The GCCI President said it was clear that a local company securing the contract would have been better for all the local stakeholders involved, but local suppliers and manufacturers need to also do more with regard to raising their standards and competitiveness.He pointed, however, to the fact that even with the onerous shipping and other costs, including the payment of taxes, that a foreign company could still supply products competitively.The GCCI President was adamant that local manufacturers and suppliers must improve their capacity.According to Doerga, “it is very disturbing that DDL could not have met the desired specifications.”He pointed to reported reasons that speak to the labelling and juice content of the product being supplied by DDL and Rudisa Beverages Inc.Doerga maintains that there needs to be a greater understanding and transparency on procurement policies and requirements across the board.He pointed to some of the programmes being run by GCCI and said that the entity was looking to do its part in terms of raising the standards of competitiveness among local suppliers and producers in areas of agro-processing and other industries.Meanwhile, a source close to DDL speaking to Guyana Times in the absence of an official statement, said that the issue has to be looked at in a larger context.It was pointed out that DDL does not grow cherries or guavas or any of the fruits that are used to make its Topco Juices.“While it may be reflected in a financial record somewhere that DDL did not win the contract, it is the small farmer who is going to be finding it hard… it is the small farmers that will be affected the most,” the source said.Rudisa Beverages Inc was awarded the juice contract despite DDL being the lowest bidder at the recent bid for the contract.DDL, in making the announcement, had stated that after milk was replaced as the preferred beverage to offer to students, along with biscuits and a snack in schools, DDL had supplied Topco Juices to Government’s national school feeding programme since 2010.On Saturday last, Government said it was in fact guided by the National Procurement and Tender Board Administration’s recommendation that the contract should be awarded to the third highest bidder.Government further justified its decision, noting that Rudisa met the requisite administrative, as well as technical requirements.In July 2015, the Surinamese beverage company had agreed to slash over US$1 million off of the settlement awarded by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to be repaid by the Government of Guyana for taxes it had imposed on imported beverage bottles. This was from the US$7.72 million (G$1.6 billion) that the CCJ had ordered Guyana to pay the beverage company.last_img