GPL under fire for purchase of overpriced trucks

…purchase approved by ‘internal’ tender board

The Guyana Power and Light (GPL) is now under the microscope, after documents surfaced showing that the company agreed to pay almost $600 million for eight trucks – a price local suppliers have described as inflated.

The purchase order

At the centre of contention is GPL’s procurement of eight bucket trucks for $587 million. The company was criticised for buying the trucks at what suppliers described as grossly-inflated prices.
Guyana Times spoke to one popular supplier, who noted that the unit cost for one of these trucks is no more than half of what GPL paid. The company hit back in a statement, saying that the actual cost of the truck is only 35 per cent of the unit cost of over $63 million.
GPL, in defence of the purchase, claimed that each truck is retrofitted with lifting and ancillary equipment. Added to this is the cost for retrofitting the trucks, operator training and maintenance for one year. In addition, GPL claimed that the freight and insurance costs to deliver everything from the United States and Europe carried up the price.
“The equipment being procured are modern mobile elevated working platforms comprising IVECO trucks retrofitted with VERSALIFT aerial lifts and ancillary equipment. The trucks will be manufactured in Italy and Spain, and the aerial lifts in the USA,” the company said.
According to GPL, the tender was advertised and GPL’s internal tender board approved the contract. Moreover, the company added that owing to COVID-19 and travel restrictions, the contract has been delayed and no payment has been made to the contractor, Massy Motors.
The issue comes at a time when Government is supposed to be in transition, with the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) having won the recent elections. In addition, the Government fell to a no-confidence motion in December 2018.
As a consequence, the approval of contracts is supposed to be on hold. However, this contract was awarded in December 2019 and the purchase order, which was leaked to the media, is dated January 2020.