Mon 18 Mar 2013
Filed under: Business / Trade,Inside Burma,News
Yangon Region’s government has delayed announcing the winners of a land tender in Kawhmu and Twante townships over a disputed tender process in which one company recorded the highest bids – each time narrowly bidding above a floor price not mentioned in formal procedures and provided to bidders only after they had lodged their documents.
A total of 15 bidders, including seven companies and eight individuals, bid for the three plots, totalling about 1200 acres in southern Yangon Region. The plots were put to tender by the Yangon Region government.
The bids, which required business plans on how the old rubber and tapioca plantations would be used in future, and a deposit of K10 million, were opened by Yangon Region’s tender supervising committee in full view of all bidders.
However, minutes before the envelopes were opened an official announced a floor price for the plots – which had not been mentioned in any pre-tender documents –participants said.
Only one group’s bids exceeded the floor price in each category. The floor price for the first lot in Kawhmu township was K109.2 million – and Young Investment Group topped the auction with a bid of 109.8 million, some K600,000 higher than the previously undisclosed minimum price and significantly higher than all other groups. The next highest bid was K39.322 million, from the U Zaw Min Aung Group, with U Tin Win Group bidding K29.2 million in third place.
The floor price for the second lot, also in Kawmhu township, was K127.14 million – and Young Investment Group won with a bid of K127.9 million, against a second-highest offer of K26.4 million, from Wide River Company. U Thaung Htaike Oo Group bid K24.09 million.
Young Investment Group also bid highest for the third plot, with K29.8 million, against a floor price of K29.01 million. U Than Aye Group bid second highest with K1.26 million and FMI company third-highest with K1.05-million.
By March 15, the winning bidders had not yet been announced, a Yangon Region government official said.
U Soe Min, Yangon Region’s Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Breeding, told The Myanmar Times: “We opened tender envelope before all bidders. Three bidders for each plot who offered the highest prices were selected. We have now sent the list of nine bidders to the regional government. The final winners for each plot will be come out after the cabinet meeting.”
However, the minister admitted that some participants had complained about the tender process, including the last minute floor price announcement which only one group exceeded, and then only by a minimal amount.
“Some people are not happy with how the tender was conducted. We called them and explained how the tender is going to be handled, and will inform them of the result later,” U Soe Min said on March 15.
U Zaw Min Aung, from Yaytarshae village in Kawhmu township, and whose bid for some plots on behalf of a group of colleagues, said: “We have complained to the tender supervising committee because the rules and regulations were unclear.”
“We tried to bid as a group because we depend on these rubber plantations in Kawhmu. We collected the deposit from villagers and submitted a bid. But the committee phoned us on March 4, a day before the tender opening, to tell us to bring K10 million for a deposit, which was not part of the pre-tender documentation.
“We believe that requirement was an attempt to remove us from the process and we have sent letters of complaint to Yangon Region’s chief minister, President U Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi about this unclear tender process,” he said.
He added that the group of more than 115 villagers planned to hold a press conference in Yaytarshae village on March 16 to voice their complaints.
“Our bid was the second highest for the first tender plot,” said U Hla Myint, who is part of U Zaw Min Aung’s group. “We have already told the committee that we are going to continue our bid according to the rules. But the committee didn’t reply,” he said.
U Win Myin, a third member of the U Zaw Min Aung Group, said: “A committee member also phoned us on the afternoon of March 6 to say that one company had bid much higher than us, and asked if we were willing to compete against that offer.”
“We told him that we are going to continue with our bid according to the rules. But the committee did not let us continue, which we think makes it an unfair tender. It is against the tender rules and regulation.
“We object to the committee for their management of the process, not necessarily the tender result,” said U Win Myint, adding that many people depended on the rubber plantations for their livelihood.
The Yangon Region government announced the tender in the state-run Kyemon (Mirror) newspaper on February 6.
The first and second plots, both old rubber plantations, are in Kawhmu township, while the third plot – a tapioca plantation – is in Twante township.
The first plot covers 576 acres, including 8 acres of factory space; the second plot is 653 acres, with 7 acres of factory; and the third plot is 100 acres, with 5 acres of factory, the tender committee announced.