Pakistan Railway Sets New Example by Favoring One Telco in its Tender
Pakistan Railway recently floated tender and corresponding RFP in which it has bluntly favored one telco and has tailored it as such that no other company qualifies for the project. It is assumed that only one specific telecom operator is going qualify for the project and is naturally going to win it.
Pakistan Railway, for provision of online payment solutions, floated an RFP that blocks all service providers, except one, from applying as three years of experience in “Branchless Banking Services” has been set as a mandatory condition for the applicants.
Now we know that just Easypaisa and Mobicash are only two players with three years of experience. Out of which Mobicash is removed from bidding through additional criteria laid out in RFP.
Not only telcos but there are banks that offer online payment solutions, including HBL, but they can’t apply as they don’t have three years of experience in “Branchless Banking Services”.
It is beyond comprehension that why Pakistan Railway needs experience in branchless banking when they want to acquire an online payment solution?
Interestingly Pakistan Railway has named this tender as “Easypaisa”, clearly indicating that they are either pre-decided on the vendor or they are being simple stupid about it.
As we are getting more details about the RFP, here’s how all companies except one were specifically sidelined and disqualified through selective criteria:
RFP — issued by Railway Pakistan — said that bidders must have at least three years of experience in branchless banking. This leaves UBL Omni, Easypaisa and MobiCash as only qualifying players, while rest of telcos and banks were disqualified at once.
RFP further says that applicant should have long-term credit rating of A+. While we know that only Microfinance bank with credit rating of A+ is Tameer Bank, all other telcos (including MobiCash) are disqualified. (Long term credit rating of banks can be found here)
RFP, to disqualify UBL Omni, set a limitation that vendor should have at least 40,000 agents’ network to get any marks for market outreach sub-criteria. UBL Omni has some 26,000 agents — and hence would get Zero marks in this specific selection criteria.
According to RFP any Financial Institution could join hands with partners to form a Joint Venture and apply for the project, however, experience of such partners will not be considered towards the evaluation which further blocks others players in the industry from being a part of the RFP Process.
All in all, this RFP seems to have been tailored specifically to select one vendor. And this is probably why they have named the tender as “Easy Paisa” as well.