Jun 29, 2011 News
– Minister Nadir
The new draft for the re-tendering process for the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) project is scheduled to be finalised by the end of this week, according to Minister of Labour, Manzoor Nadir, who explained that an unfinished draft “somehow accidentally” ended up being posted on the project’s website recently before it was even scrutinised.
Kaieteur News was made to understand that the “new re-tendering process” will ensure that sufficient time is provided for those who are desirous to seek clarifications, and adequate time is allotted to have the bidders prepare their samples. The tender document is open to anyone who wants to “come on board”.
Minister Nadir also explained that though many times persons are of the opinion that the lowest bidder should be awarded the project, it must be noted that more often than not they do not fit all of the requirements, since they must be able to “go through the evaluation process” that is set out.
He pointed out that in some cases, there are those who are awarded the contracts, but after commencement they change figures due to underestimating the job, or for other reasons, and even leave the project incomplete.
It was explained that products in this project should be durable and last a minimum of three years, since the aim is to provide a tool so that an entire family can utilise it and integrate into society.
Currently there have been 44,000 applications received by the OLPF office and a team of 40 personnel are inputting the information into “a massive database” which already has 14,000 applications of the lot stored.
According to Nadir, learning hubs were identified within the three counties, and teams have visited over 206 hubs, since another aim is not only supplying a tool but also providing training to families who will benefit from the laptops.
There are 291 potential trainers who completed training courses especially for this project since the persons who registered to benefit from a laptop should also be trained and educated on its use. If persons fail to comply with this requirement they will simply not be issued a laptop.
“Most hubs are non-Government institutions… The OLPF is on stream. Re-tendering is only one small aspect. At the beginning we were looking to have the laptops distributed and training completed by the beginning of October this year and we are on track with this target,” Nadir assured.
In response to accusations by Giftland Office Max that the One Laptop Per Family office supplied “flawed advice” causing Government to reject its first bid, Nadir asserted that the information supplied by the business was “inaccurate” and “misleading” to the general public.
The minister, who was tasked by Cabinet to oversee the OLPF programme, told the media yesterday that due to the inaccuracy in submissions of statements by the bidder (Giftland Office Max) to the media houses, it was imperative to correct those statements as soon as possible as well as update everyone on the programme.
“That bidder was saying he was a compliant bidder during the first process. He said he met all the tender requirements and he was a compliant bidder. And I want to say in no uncertain terms that this bidder is living in La La Land.”
Kaieteur News understands that another issue raised was transparency of the tender process. It was explained that not all tenders are sent to Cabinet, only those with products or services valued at $15M or exceeding that figure would be sent for “no objections” by the decision-making body.
For the record, the OLPF project’s first tender surpassed $15M, so it was sent to Cabinet.
According to Nadir, the evaluation team for the first tender comprised five persons, with efforts made to ensure that all of the evaluators did not come from the Ministries or Government Agencies which put out the tender.
Generally there are only three persons on an evaluation team for projects, but this one was specially designed, therefore requiring an additional two persons: with two of the five from the Guyana Revenue Authority and one from the Ministry of Finance. On board are at least two Information Technology specialists.
The persons comprising the evaluation team are Sesh Sukhdeo, Francis Simmons, Grace McKellman, Shawn Hussain and Nicolas Dunkirk.
This newspaper understands that because of the project having “such importance for knowledge” it should be ensured that it meets four or five major requirements, including compliance for technical specifications, durability, service and warranty etc.
One of the major requirements for persons submitting the hardware was that they supply a sample of the hardware they will provide and a manufacturer’s authorization.
Nadir claims that Giftland Office Max supplied a certificate from a “third party” claiming to be sub-contracted.
“This is not a manufacturer submitting an authorization that a particular bidder has our authorization”, said Nadir, as he explained that this was not meeting the requirements set out.
Nadir explained that it was apparent that Giftland Office Max deems the Government “ignorant of business transactions” whereas Government has a responsibility to verify each submission by every single bidder and to verify with each manufacturer.
Nadir noted that another issue was that behind the original laptop, like others of its kind, there would be manufacturing information, serial numbers and other essential information at the back. He told the media that the laptop supplied by Giftland Office Max did not have any such information.
Nadir stated that he doesn’t want to assume that the entity deals with “counterfeit goods” but in this instance, and comparing the Lenovo laptop (original) and the one sent by the company, it was his opinion that the company did not supply an original.
He also emphasized that Giftland Office Max is not barred from participating in the new re-tendering process and they would be welcome to participate if they wish.
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