Firms lose bid to lock out foreigners from lucrative power tender

Kenya Power technicians replace a transformer in the outskirts of Othaya town in Nyeri County, May 5, 2022. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Local companies have lost a bid to lock out foreign firms from supplying Kenya Power with transformers and metres.

They had lodged two separate cases at the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB), saying the procurement process had been designed to lock out Kenyan manufacturers from the tenders. The firms added that they have been satisfactorily supplying Kenya Power with transformers and metres without any queries.

They further argued that Kenya Power, in opening up the tender to foreign firms, was acting contrary to legal provisions, citing the Public Procurement Act and the Constitution, as well as the Buy Kenya, Build Kenya policy that aims to promote local industries. PPARB, however, dismissed both cases and ordered the power distributor “to proceed with the procurement proceedings” of both tenders to their “logical conclusion strictly in accordance with the applicable laws.”

In the case whose ruling was made last Friday, five firms had wanted ARB to cancel a tender by Kenya Power in which it sought supplies of distribution transformers. The firms are Pan Africa Transformers and Switchgears, Nairobi Transformer Manufacturers (E.A.), Empower Transformers, Yocean Group and Mahashakti. They said the requirements are skewed in favour of foreign firms by placing stringent requirements such as the need to have over 10 years of experience.

They wanted PPARB to direct Kenya Power to redo the tender, restricting it to local manufacturers, in effect locking out foreign firms.

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