Apropos a news item published on 12th February 2013, Pakistan Steel spokesman has insisted that PSM always followed PPRA Rules in all its procurement of goods, works & services to ensure participation of the bidders round the world in order to get the material of required specifications at competitive prices. “PSM follows a reasonable regime of iron ore quality which is not available with certain Suppliers as per tender documents. It is causing the present uproar.
“Pakistan Steel has highly experienced and qualified officers to evaluate/carry out technical scrutiny of all the bids received from the Bidders as per terms & conditions laid down in the Tender Documents. From technically qualified bidders, commercial offers are considered and opened before the Board Price Committee (BPC) which is comprised of professional Board members having technical, financial and managerial background.
“It is a corporate system where decisions are taken at many tiers and through due diligence over a period of time. Since 1981 Pakistan Steel had executed six long-term contracts (years duration each) for the supply of Iron Ore after due scrutiny and at competitive rates.
“Long-term contracts were executed with Iran, MMTC/Sesa Goa India, BHP/Rio Tinto Australia, Vale Brazil. CVRD Venizvela, SNIM Mauritania. Iron Ore (Lump) from Indian origin was supplied during 4th Generation (July 1997 to June 2003) by M/s MMTC, India in quantity of 791,660.00 MTN and during 5thGeneration (July 2003 to June 2008) Iron Ore (Fine & Lump) was supplied by M/s Sesa Goa Ltd, India in quantity 1,649,614 MTN. Moreso, Iron ore (Lump) of Indian origin was also supplied through Spot Purchases shipments during June 2008 to January 2009 by M/s Sesa Goa Ltd, India and M/s MEL India in quantity 225,148 MTN and Iron Ore (Fine) during August 2008 to September-2009 from M/s MEL and NIMC, India in quantity 77,000 MTN.
“Hence there is no question of discrimination. Pakistan Steel in their tender required iron ore having Fe Content 57% and above and Alumina less than 5%.Thereby Iron ore available in the neighbouring country having Fe content less than 57% and Alumina more than 5% can not be acceptable as below the required standards given in the Tender.
“It is to clarify that it is not by design that the iron ore from neighbouring country is being denied but Pakistan Steel has never accepted the imported Iron ore having less than 57% Fe content and Alumina of accepted iron ore remained less than 3% except in three shipments which were accepted under force majeure that too with much reduced price after signing Addendum during February-March 2008 in order to maintain high standard of production (Above 80%).
“This Iron ore was also supplied by the same neighbouring country. PSM has invited bids from interested parties for entering into 7thGeneration long term contract. The specifications fixed for the 7th Generation long-term contract are the same as were for the 4th, 5th & 6th Generation.
“As such the suggestion that Pakistan Steel has amended their specs to restrict the supply of iron ore from the specific suppliers/origin of country is totally baseless and misleading. Pakistan Steel in this regard has honoured valuable suggestions given by M/s Transparency International-Pakistan in order to have wide range participation. “The requirement of submission of Bid Money and PBG are not the pre-requisite in 7th Generation long term contract. Thereby Pakistan Steel is open to get material through any source/country of origin subject to fulfilment of Specs laid down in the Tender of long-term contract for which tender is due to open on 21st February 2013.
“Iron ore from India against long term contract of good quality was supplied to Pakistan Steel and we still hope that Suppliers of Indian origin iron ore will participate and remain competitive. PSM is committed to ensuring that transparent process for evaluation of bids is followed without any discrimination of the country of origin for supply of iron ore subject to fulfilment of tender requirement on the same reasonable specifications,” clarification concludes.