Government procurement decisions are generally not made based on price alone ("Local firms deserve help in securing govt projects" by Mr Ben Chen; April 5).
Government agencies are required to abide by the principle of value for money in making their procurement decisions. This includes considering both quality and price factors.
The award decision will be based on the evaluation criteria and their relative importance, as spelt out in the tender documents.
In the procurement of government systems, such as the National Trade Platform and SingPass mentioned by Mr Chen, considerable emphasis would be given for the quality aspects of the proposals, for example, the design of the proposed solution and capabilities of the project team.
We assure Mr Chen that thorough evaluation is carried out, and the winning tenderer would be the bid which has the best combination of quality and price.
As a signatory to the World Trade Organisation Agreement on Government Procurement and a number of free trade agreements, Singapore is obligated to be non-discriminatory in its government procurement practices.
For procurement that is covered by these agreements, we cannot discriminate in favour of local companies. Similarly, countries that we have signed international trade agreements with cannot discriminate against Singapore companies that seek to participate in procurements that they have committed under these agreements.
Notwithstanding our openness to world trade, some of our local companies have performed well.
For instance, NCS, which the writer cited, has won many government contracts, including those which are worth $20 million and more, over the past two years through the open tender process.
Lim Yuin Chien
Director, Corporate Communications
Ministry of Finance