Belay Ab Motors Plc presented the lowest price to supply 400 replacement motors for the high-powered vehicles government officers have been banned from using in Addis Abeba.

The Public Procurement & Property Disposal Service, buying the vehicles on behalf of the Ministry of Finance & Economic Cooperation (MoFEC), started the financial offer on February 09, 2018, at its grounds at Sidist Kilo. Belay Ab began for over ten years and offered the lowest amount to supply cars worth around 350 million Br in three lots.

Abay Technical & Trading, Mesfin Industrial Engineering Plc, and Marathon Motors Engineering also contended to supply the vehicles that would replace Nissans, Land Cruisers and Prados in six months’ time.

The first lot was shipped in early January and included 240 automobiles with 1,600 CC engines. The second lot, 110 cars with 1,800 CC engines and third lot, 50 vehicles with 2,000 CC engines.

Belay Ab was established with an investment of $5 million to import light, medium, and heavy-duty trucks and offered the lowest prices of 801,319.42 Br, 924,228.73 Br and 1.1 million Br for a DFM-model car in the first, second and third lots, respectively.

While Mesfin Industrial bid for the first lot only, Marathon was interested in the first and third lots. Belay Ab and Abay participated in all three. Yangfan was excluded for failing to submit the document before the tender was opened.

Goitom Gebre Kristos of Mesfin Industrial complained that the assemblers participating in the bid without naming any names, with new brands and without having opened an assembly plant could have quality issues. This was even before the financial offers were revealed.

Solomon Betre, chairman of the tender committee that has bought 537 vehicles since it was established six years ago, opposed explaining that the primary concern is not the model of the cars, but the investment certificate for the assembly of automobiles.

He added that failure to get a quality certification from the Addis Ababa Transport Bureau would affect the outcome of the procurement.

The procurement follows an order by MoFEC to prohibit sports-utility vehicles (SUVs) by government officers except for trips outside the capital.

This was to reduce the cost and consumption of petroleum, encourage local assemblers and save foreign currency, according to the deputy head of public relations at the service. This comes at a time when gaining access to foreign money has been a challenge for both public and private enterprises, with the forex reserve not able to cover a couple of months of exports, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The procurement comes in a country where more than 70 assemblers were established between 1998 and 2016, but only 18 are operational.

Belay Ab for its part uses a semi-knocked down (SKD) system in which parts of the car that have been partially put together are shipped to be assembled for sale to customers, according to Abiy Fita, chief sales representative to the Company.