Inquiry over public convenience spending launched
Manama, April 3, 2014
An inquiry has been launched amid claims that spending BD41,000 ($108,137) on a public convenience in Manama was like flushing money down the toilet.
The Manama Municipal Council is investigating why the investment was made when there were cheaper alternatives available - and wants to halt the purchase of nine more, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Councillors claim the hi-tech toilet cubicle from Italy - which comes with external surveillance cameras, an auto-lock feature and is able to clean istelf - was simply unnecessary.
The toilet cubicle, located near the Manama Post Office, was chosen over other options that cost just BD5,800 and BD17,000.
"Imagine the government spending BD41,000 on one toilet - and around half-a-million on 10 - while it could have spent BD41,000 to build 12 public toilets," complained municipal councillor Mohammed Al Hawaj yesterday.
"Even if the toilet has gold accessories, it would have not cost BD41,000.
"Why did the municipality reject the two other offers, which are cheaper and could have done the job?"
The pay toilet is now operative and people can use it for 15 minutes at a time for 200 fils.
However, Manama Municipality director-general Shaikh Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said the toilet was built in line with the latest technologies.
"It is unlike conventional ones currently seen in markets or condensed office areas," he said.
"It is easy to connect to existing facilities and has surveillance cameras on the door from the outside to ensure it doesn't get sabotaged, besides auto-lock and self-sanitation of the toilet bowl and walls without the need of human intervention.
"Imagine this toilet set-up at the Diplomatic Area, on beaches and other public facilities like parks, gardens and walkways - it all depends on the success of the test phase we are currently in."
He said the supplier was chosen by the Tender Board in line with a comprehensive assessment, not the municipality.
"The other options are just portable cabins with toilets - this is an actual toilet, which is currently being set up across Europe," said Shaikh Mohammed.
"The company provides toilets at a range between BD41,000 and BD130,000, which means we chose the cheapest design.
"The timer was originally set at two minutes in line with European standards but we changed it to 15 minutes.
"We didn't pay the supplier anything - that will be done after we finish the test phase." - TradeArabia News Service