Transparency International has brought attention to a massive violation of legal procedure involving the Pakistan Post. Reports claim that an investment contract for Rs 118 billion was finalised for a project between the Post and HBL Bank without inviting public tender. So far, there has been no official statement from the PTI or Minister for Communications Murad Saeed.
According to rules set by the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority, public tenders need to be offered in case of any project that calls for investment or outsourcing so that all banks may partake in bidding processes.
A tender is beneficial for various reasons. It keeps industries competitive and allows fair procedure. Simply put, allowing suppliers and banks to compete for contracts is essential for a healthy economic environment. It lessens the chance of any one party wielding unfair advantage over another; the bidder offering the best services at the lowest price wins.
Ironically, Murad Saeed has been witnessed speaking out against corruption and unfair practices on countless occasions. He is thought to be a stringent believer in “Naya Pakistan”. Even further, he was quoted as saying that this project would restore people’s faith in government (source: The Nation).
Transparency International was formed in 1995 and since then has been combating corruption in over a hundred nations. In 2019, Pakistan ranked 120/180 according to its Corruption Perception Index report. Presently, the fact that an internationally renowned, highly reputable body has called Pakistan out cannot be brushed under the carpet. The new government will have to account for these discrepancies – especially considering it has promised time and again to fix them.