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 /unit Qty Total
Spring Singapore Supply of Chairs to SPRING Singapore at Connexis South $650 28 18,200
Subordinate court High Back Chairs- Supply and delivery $350 20 7,000
  Mid Back Ergonomics Chairs- supply and delivery 195 200 39,000
Ministry of Home Affairs-Singapore Civil Defence Force Supply and delivery of Chair Executive, Medium Backrest 165 30 4,950
National Environment Agency Mid-back Armchair with mesh-back support backrest 210 20 4,200
  Mid-back Armchair with mesh-back support backrest 350 20 7000
Public Utilities Board 4120706/3PN/Provision of Office Chairs and Delivery to Environment Building 150 17 2550
Ministry of National Development-Ministry Headquarter Supply and Delivery of Office Chairs 170 100 17,000
MCYS – Rehabilitation and Protection General Office Chairs (Corporate Service Unit) 350 13 4550
Attorney-General’s Chambers Tender For The Supply And Delivery Of Up To 200 Units Of Ergonomic Office Chairs To Attorney-General’s Chambers 597 200 119,400
Attorney-General’s Chambers Office Chairs (Without armrest) – up to 350 units of office chairs as indicated in Annex A 155 350 54,250

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

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