07 January 2004

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Finance Minister reacts to Simed statements

In its reactions to Simed International’s statements on the tendering process for the supply of medical equipment to Mater Dei hospital, the Ministry for Finance and Economic Services said the Dutch company had double counted certain figures in the financial tables it has presented to the press.
The Ministry said Simed, in its tables, had double counted the INSO offer for the price of spare parts for five years: "Simed has taken the price of EUR 22,3379,405 and added to the figure of EUR12,808,731 as spares," the Ministry said. "However, during the hearing of the appeal, INSO officials confirmed more than once that their price of EUR 22,337,405 includes a five-year maintenance and service agreement, including spare parts. This is necessitated by the conditions in Appendix 10 of the tender document."
The Ministry also said Simed had not explained how it had quoted low and unrealistic prices for the five-year maintenance and spare parts agreement, which was quoted at EUR999,248, when no firm had quoted for the same agreement for anything less than EUR5 million. The Ministry said that quoting such figures would "naturally lead to low life cycle costs, when in reality these cannot be as cheap."
"It was this lack of consistency which led the Foundation of Medical Services and the Director-General of Contracts to decide that the choice of tenderer would be based on the base of the offer, that is, the price and quality of the medical apparatus."
The Ministry also said Simed had not informed the public that it had not quoted the expense of five years of spare parts, and that it had quoted the annual running costs of only 15 items out of 1,281 items: "These two factors reveal serious shortcomings in the Simed offer, which shows why their offer in terms of spare parts was so low."
The Minister of Finance also said there was no evidence within the Appeals Board report that INSO had been disqualified from the Appeals Board and that clarification exercise with the company had been declared abusive and illegal. "Primarily, the Board did not agree with certain changes INSO had carried out in the exercise. If the Board wanted to disqualify INSO’s tender, it would have said so, as it did in the case of Hospitalia.
"Finally, the 90 per cent compliance of INSO quoted by this Ministry is correct and reflects the level of acceptance which INSO achieved without any changes in equipment. It is a fact that there are around 200 items that have not been covered by the clarification exercise yet. The decision that these items were not to be covered by the exercise was based on the value as well as the minimal importance of these items. The choice of INSO Spa was good and just."

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Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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