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Wasa urges small firms to tender

By Camille Bethel camille.bethel@trinidadexpress.com

The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) wants small and medium-sized enterprises to help transform the country's water resources.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce at its Westmoorings headquarters yesterday, WASA interim chief executive Dion Abdool said the Authority had embarked on a robust planning process but realised in order to succeed it needed more meaningful relationships with the private sector.

"Particularly with the implementation of our capital projects of which many have already been scoped and prioritised."

These projects included the construction of booster plants, pipeline installation and the supply of goods and services including the pipelines as well as engineering services.

"We recognise that there are serious deficiencies in our infrastructure. As we speak every month WASA repairs about 3,000 leaks. It speaks volumes for water maybe, but certainly volumes for the condition of our infrastructure.

"Serious investment and private sector involvement is required if we are to transform the water sector. We also view WASA as a driver for the economic development of our country," he said.

Director corporate services at WASA, Doodnath Bhola encouraged all businesses to participate in the tendering process.

"We would like to encourage those of you who are already vendors to remain with us and those people who are not vendors — not suppliers of goods and services to us, to be part of this process. There are some excellent opportunities with us, and we value your participation in the procurement process."

Bhola said from January to July WASA's procurement section had 37 projects valued at $650 million.

Several other sections at WASA including the operational type sections also had $163 million worth of projects.

"I know some of you in this room who are part of that process and some of you might even be successful in getting a piece of the $650 million. I am sure that some of you here, who are not a part of this process, would like to get your hands on some of that. We really want you to participate. Your participation is very important," he said.

Bhola said 94 per cent of the capital projects at WASA were open to public tender.

"If you look at the daily newspapers on a Wednesday and Thursday, you will see all the projects for tender," he said.

He added that the process was a fair one that was tested with tremendous checks and balances and open to all suppliers.

Ramchand Ramcharan, director programmes and change management at WASA told business owners that there were contracts for professional services that included engineering design, quantity surveying, project management, engineering surveying, land surveying, land management and risk management as well as contracts that include the supply of excavation equipment, pumps, pipes and fittings, aggregate, repair of equipment and restoration of roadways.

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