The director of the National Institute of Student Welfare (Inabie), Víctor Castro, defended this Friday the transparency of the process of hiring food services for the Extended School Day for the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years, after the complaints irregularities of dozens of suppliers.
In a statement, Castro assured that these tenders, which began in March of this year, involved a total of 2,177 bidders, who competed for 1,350 lots, with each of these made up of lunch rations available in one or several educational centers that make up the Extended School Day.
“During these months and before proceeding with the awards, an exhaustive evaluation process was carried out in the financial, legal and technical part of each participating company, which for the first time included the inspection of 100% of the kitchens of the bidders,” read part of the aforementioned document.
Likewise, it highlighted that these evaluations also included for the first time the execution of the “Public Due Diligence”, which consists of the purging carried out on the actors external to the institution that intervene in the contracting process to identify conflicts of interest and inabilities.
The official indicated that the foregoing is part of the efforts to make the tenders for the food lots transparent, which, according to Inabie, were awarded to 1,166 bidders nationwide.
According to Castro, 89.7% of the awarded bidders have only one lot for a total of 1,046, while 92 bidders were awarded with two lots and a total of 21 bidders have 3 lots.
In addition, four bidders were awarded with 4 lots and a total of three bidders have 5 lots.
The remaining 26 lots, said the official, were declared deserted due to various situations and will be put out to tender again within the legal deadlines to complete the awards.
Likewise, 460 bidders who have not been awarded after complying with the specifications remained in occupied positions, who could be awarded for breach of contracts or for the inclusion of new centers in the program.
Is it an irregularity that some bidders have more than one lot?
According to Inabie no, alleging that these “were situations provided for in the specifications and in the amendments made during the process.”
The document in question continues alleging that the specifications indicated that, in principle, each bidder was going to be awarded a lot in the interest of safeguarding the principle of equity.
However, both documents explained that in order to reduce the number of lots that could be deserted and guarantee the service, which is the greater good, more than one lot could be awarded per bidder in exceptional cases.
When could more than one lot be awarded?
In cases where the batches of a process were greater than the bidders, more than one batch could be awarded to those that met the requirements and had the highest score.
Today several school lunch and breakfast suppliers protested in front of Inabie to denounce the aforementioned tender, alleging that it had “poorly prepared specifications and poorly formed lots.”