MOM is not the only one buying expensive designer chairs


You know there was this hooha on Ministry of Manpower and their ergonomic chairs right? [Link to story]

In short, they “spent almost $272,000 to buy a total of 472 Herman Miller chairs for its staff.”

One chair costs $575 – sparking public debate whether the chair is too expensive and excessive.

That was last year (under Gan Kim Yong’s time).

In a recent report, audits by Auditor-General’s Office have shown that “the Ministry of Manpower was found to have given inadequate oversight in awarding a tender for the purchase of office chairs”. [Link to story]

The audit report is online. On pg 32, it states that “the tender approving authority accepted the TER which, without showing cost-effectiveness consideration, recommended the award of tender to the highest bid. This raises doubt on the adequacy of scrutiny by the approving authority in the tender award process.”

But guess what? I was checking GeBIZ, the govt website for tendering and awarding of procurement…

And the Ministry of Manpower is not the only one buying such expensive chairs.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers procured 200 chairs at $597 each, totalling $119,400.

It was awarded on 20 March 2012 to Xtra Office Pte Ltd:

Spring Singapore too:

28 chairs at $650 each, total $18,200.

It is awarded on 1 Aug 2012, to Xtra Office Pte Ltd.

Incidentally, Xtra Office Pte Ltd is the same supplier to Ministry of Manpower in 2011.

To do more comparison, I did more digging:

Prices of office chairs at Ministries and Stat Boards   
  Price /unitQtyTotal
Spring SingaporeSupply of Chairs to SPRING Singapore at Connexis South$6502818,200
Subordinate courtHigh Back Chairs- Supply and delivery$350207,000
 Mid Back Ergonomics Chairs- supply and delivery19520039,000
Ministry of Home Affairs-Singapore Civil Defence ForceSupply and delivery of Chair Executive, Medium Backrest165304,950
National Environment AgencyMid-back Armchair with mesh-back support backrest210204,200
 Mid-back Armchair with mesh-back support backrest350207000
Public Utilities Board4120706/3PN/Provision of Office Chairs and Delivery to Environment Building150172550
Ministry of National Development-Ministry HeadquarterSupply and Delivery of Office Chairs17010017,000
MCYS – Rehabilitation and ProtectionGeneral Office Chairs (Corporate Service Unit)350134550
Attorney-General’s ChambersTender For The Supply And Delivery Of Up To 200 Units Of Ergonomic Office Chairs To Attorney-General’s Chambers597200119,400
Attorney-General’s ChambersOffice Chairs (Without armrest) – up to 350 units of office chairs as indicated in Annex A15535054,250

Most chairs procured by ministries and stat boards in the past 6 months are priced from $150 to $350.

All these numbers are obtained from I just compiled them on an excel spreadsheet.

Granted, I have no idea how these office chairs look like or their differing functions/comfort levels.

But should Govt bodies purchase expensive chairs?

TOC thanks TR EMERITUS for allowing us to republish this article. The article was first published here