The news article carried in your Wednesday edition captioned “Laptop re-tender notice accidentally ends up on website”, missed most of the fundamental points which Minister Manzoor Nadir made in clarifying the evaluation of the bids submitted by three companies including Giftland Office Max in the first round of tender for the supply of the OLPF Laptops.
Instead, and not surprisingly, your paper chose an insignificant error acknowledged by Minister Nadir, as its headlines.
While providing updates on the progress of the One Laptop Per Family Programme on Tuesday June 28, Minister Nadir, who was earlier this month given Cabinet responsibility for the OLPF Programme, clarified recent media claims by Giftland Office Max that the tender process for the procurement of the laptops to be distributed under the OLPF, needed to be more “transparent”, emphasizing in a letter to the press published on Tuesday, that its submission in the first round of tender “ was in every way compliant with the tender requirements and the only issue which our bid was found noncompliant was the genuineness of the product itself, which it turns out is not an issue at all”.
The Minister effectively debunked Giftlands’s claims and reinforced that at the heart of the shortcomings of the bid was the very “genuineness” of the sample product submitted which in fact was a major issue.
The bid was evaluated as noncompliant for four main reasons that were clearly articulated by the Minister accordingly:
1. Contrary to Giftland’s misplaced confidence that the genuineness of the sample product supplied was “not an issue at all”, Minister Nadir stated that while he cannot say Giftland is a known counterfeiter, the sample product it submitted in its bid was not an authentic Lenovo computer as confirmed by the principals at Lenovo. Email evidence of Lenovo’s official position was circulated to the press.
2. That the Certificate of Authorization and the manufacturing company cited by Giftland were also deemed unauthentic by Lenovo.
3. That Giftland submitted a letter from a foreign based third party as the means of executing the warranties and repairs, without any supporting evidence of the third party’s track record and capacity to fulfill those requirements.
4. That the product name (brand) referred to in the bid document as” Lenova”, was in contradiction to the brand name inscribed on the sample product as “Lenovo”.
The Bidding Document supplied to all bidders states clearly under section E #30 which addresses ‘Responsiveness of Bids’ in the evaluation process that: ‘A substantially responsive Bid is one that confirms to all the terms, conditions, and specifications of the Bidding Documents without material deviation, reservation, or omission’.
In underscoring the transparency of the process, Minister Nadir detailed the tender process and the no-objection role of Cabinet, while he was at pains to inform the media that the first tender was evaluated by a six-person team unlike the usual three member teams that are used for the evaluation of bids.
In preparation for the retender as a consequence of the quashing of the first round, Government has broadened its efforts at transparency through meaningful consultations with local ICT industry suppliers and technical experts, with a view of consolidating the national nature of the OLPF at every stage of its evolution.
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