The plague

Kuensel featured this advertisement yesterday. Read it, and see what’s wrong.

I, like the friend who showed me this notification, found it funny that RITH would invite bids to produce the plague. But we all know that what RITH really wants is a plaque to commemorate the inauguration of the institute. Funny. And no harm done.

But look at the notification again. Look at it closely. To be awarded the work, one must be a registered license holder and pay Nu 200 for a set of bidding documents. The bidding documents will be sold from 17th May to 31st May during office hours.

The bidding documents will, no doubt, spell out many more conditions that bidders must fulfill. A committee will study all the bids. And another committee will award the work to one lucky bidder.

And what is the work? To produce a plaque. The advertisement itself could cost more than the plaque. Add to that the many hours that the many officials and the many businessmen have put into this endeavor, and you end up with a very expensive plaque. Expensive, but not necessarily good.

Our financial system must be tight. But the system should not be counterproductive. For small projects – like this one, to produce a simple plaque – excessive and cumbersome procedures add to the administrative burden and make a mockery of efficiency, transparency and accountability. Now that’s not funny. Because that, like the plague, can cause a lot of harm.