Procurement Puzzle: 13th Amendment to the Public Procurement Regulation


– Rishab Gyawali

Mr. Gyawali ​​is a research fellow at Samriddhi Foundation, an economic policy think tank based in Kathmandu. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not represent the views of the organization. Author can be reached at Rishab Gyawali [email protected].

The recent approval of the 13th amendment to the Public Procurement Regulation 2080 has ignited significant discussion. This amendment legally opened the way to extend project deadlines for contractors failing to complete their work on time, raising questions about the integrity and efficacy of public procurement processes.

While the government justifies the amendment as necessary to accommodate delays and ensure project completion, concerns have been raised regarding the motives behind this decision. While the government claims that extending project deadlines would ensure the project’s completion, reports suggest the government regularly amends the regulations under pressure from construction entrepreneurs rather than from a genuine need for reform. government reportedly amended the regulations under pressure from construction entrepreneurs

The amendment to the regulation aims to extend only to projects facing specific challenges, but negligent contractors seem to be taking undue advantage of this amendment. Moreover, such an amendment may create perverse incentives for contractors to deliberately delay projects in the future. Delayed project completion not only incurs additional expenses through extended contracts and operational costs but also hinders anticipated economic benefits from infrastructure development such as increased trade, tourism, and productivity. Additionally, contractors may see delayed completion as a strategic move to renegotiate contracts and mobilize resources for their personal gain through deadline extensions.

While it’s essential to acknowledge the possibility of project delays due to genuine reasons, the extension of project deadlines should not be a blanket solution. It is crucial to recognize that the root cause of project delays may extend beyond time constraints alone. Instead, the government should focus on improving project management practices along with streamlined bureaucratic procedures during the planning, design, and construction stages to identify and resolve issues. Extending deadlines may offer a temporary reprieve but does not address these underlying challenges sustainably, leading to the recurrence of the same problems.