Protracted bidding can compromise the implementation of projects. One of the major issues encountered by this project was the protracted bidding process undertaken by the executing agency (EA). The bidding process for the civil works and construction supervision contracts took more than 1 year to complete because of the EA’s unfamiliarity with the updated ADB guidelines. It added to an initial delay of more than 1 year because of changes in the road design, which required updating the design, feasibility study, and tender documents. However, the contractors, finally selected in December 2019, withheld their acceptance because of uncertainty relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, they requested clarifications on the issue of exemption from value-added tax and customs duties on the temporary import of their equipment. The contracts remained unsigned until the first quarter of 2021, and was eventually overtaken by ADB’s approval of the government’s request for loan cancellation in the same quarter. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that the bidding process in future projects will take more than 1 year, as the EA had received step-by-step training on ADB procurement and gained experience from this and other similar projects. In addition, experienced and well-qualified PMU staff will be available to ensure ADB-funded projects are implemented on time.
Kashkadarya Regional Road Project