The National Food Authority (NFA) has announced a failure of bidding for the supply of 500,000 metric tons of rice after all four traders offered to sell at above the government’s price ceiling.
In an interview, NFA Spokesperson Rex Estoperez said that the NFA’s Bids and Awards Committee has announced failure of Wednesday’s rice tender after qualified bidders submitted offers that were higher than the $456.60 per MT approved budget for the contract (ABC).
The state-run grains agency received a total volume offer of 750,000 MT of rice from the bidders, including Vietnam’s state agencies Vinafood I and Vinafood II, LG International Corp, and Louis Dreyfus Corp., but the bid offers ranged from $460 to $496.75 per MT.
“It is clear in the bid documents submitted that the offers are not responsive and, in fact, are beyond the ABC of $456.60 per MT. Under Republic Act 9184, those submitting bids higher than the ABC are automatically disqualified,” Estoperez said.
“Based on the bid offers, the NFA has the right to to reject all bid proposals,” he added.
The spokesperson said that the Bids and Awards Committee, led by Atty. Efren Sabong, would submit an official report to NFA Administrator Arthur Juan, who will then make a final recommendation to the NFA Council for final approval.
He said that the interagency committee would have to review the approved budget for the contract as world market prices of the grain fluctuate depending on the demand.
“We need to study if the ABC is still realistic with the prices in the world market. It has been almost three weeks since the time we announced our import plans, so naturally, the international prices will move depending on the demand,” Estoperez said.
Estoperez that it is necessary for the NFA Council to decide as soon as possible on a possible plan of action to ensure that there will be enough buffer stocks in the coming months.
“The sooner they decide, the better,” he said.
The NFA had allotted P10.27 billion for the purchase of an additional 500,000 MT of rice imports, which will cover Manila’s requirements amid dwindling stocks at government-owned warehouses.
At present, rice stocks in government-owned warehouses total about 460,000 MT, or enough for 14 days.
Meanwhile, Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Modernization Secretary Francis Pangilinan said that he would meet immediately with the NFA Council to discuss possible action, saying that they will either rebid the volume or conduct a government-to-government transaction.
“Our buffer stock is OK. We will just have to ensure we will be able to bring in the volume of imported rice before the end of September… either through rebidding or G2G,” Pangilinan said in a text message.
The NFA was compelled to import more rice due the high rate of withdrawals in government-owned warehouses, depleting reserves stocks to near-critical levels.