The awarding of a retender to operate the second Core Category Duty Free Shop at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) has been further delayed due to objections raised by one of the bidders.
Although the final decision on the bids had already been made, the awarding of the tender was halted as one of the unsuccessful bidders filed an objection after the “Intention to award” letter was sent, Transport and Civil Aviation Secretary Nihal Somaweera said.
However, he said that the original deadline for objections 14 June was extended till 21 June after one bidder claimed that they had not received the letter on time.
“There was a postal strike so we had to accommodate,” Somaweera said giving reasons for the extension.
“The Procurement Appeals Board of the Ministry met on Friday, and will prepare their report and submit to the Cabinet. We will have to submit a separate cabinet paper on our recommendation,” he said.
The initial decision by the Ministry to retender the second shop was met with resistance from interested parties. The Ministry decided against awarding the contract to the successful bidder during the first round of bidding as advertised.
The decision for the retender was taken despite the clauses in the RFP of the first tender to offer the second space to the second highest bidder. World Duty Free, the company which was operating Shop 1 in the BIA before fresh tenders were called this year filed a court case against the decision.
Meanwhile, over 300 employees of World Duty Free which maintained a presence in the country for the last 21 years are faced with uncertainty of their jobs due to the decisions.