One Laptop Per Family Programme…
Government is expected to give its no objections this week for a major contract to distribute 27,000 laptops to single parent households and other selected groups as early as October.
It is the first phase of an ambitious project to equip 90,000 ‘poor’ families with the laptops or the smaller, handier netbooks over a two year period.
Last week, a total of eleven bids were opened by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), including three overseas firms.
It is expected that as early as Friday, the company winning the bid will be announced.
The company has three months to deliver the 27,000 laptops.
The highest bid last week, from Fatz Express Packaging Services, a Trinidad and Tobago company, was for US$21.6M which translates to one laptop costing around just over US$801 each.
The lowest bid also came from a Trinidad and Tobago company, N.J Computers, for US$6.85M which works out to a little over US$254 for one.
Minister of Labour, whose responsibilities include overseeing the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) project, yesterday disclosed that the first set of laptops could be in the hands of the targeted groups as early as October.
With the bids being opened last week, an evaluation team was expected to submit the name of the company which it felt met the requirements.
On Friday, Nadir and Senior Project Manager for the OLPF, Sesh Sukhdeo, met with over 50 staffers at Duke Lodge, Kingston.
A government release indicated that the session was geared to better equip the staff after a massive verification exercise of over 15,000 people was completed.
Over 200 learning hubs across the country will also be established and the 50-plus staff will be required to liaise with them.
“The tenders have closed and, we hope that by Tuesday we are going to finalize the tender but, the big task is Monday (tomorrow) when we are going out on the road. We have about 45,000 applications; in this first phase it’s 27,000 that will see four categories benefiting,” Nadir told the group.
Among the first to benefit from the programme will be single parents, the “differently-abled”; low income earners, which include students who have received subsidies from CXC, and organized community groups.
“This is now getting into full steam and it can’t happen without fully trained and organized staffers. There is going to be also a focus on the resources that we need to mobilize and we will also be putting close to 120 people in the field in the next two weeks to accomplish this task,” Minister Nadir is quoted as saying in the statement.
While a training exercise will be done with the aim of ensuring that every member of the household develops computer skills, the verification process is also important as it will ensure that information provided by an applicant is accurate, the statement warned.
Eight overseas companies are among 11 firms that have submitted bids for the initial supply of 27,000 laptops.
This year, government has earmarked $1.8B in the 2011 budget for the first 27,000 laptops.
There was a previous tender but an evaluation team, which remained unchanged for this current tender, rejected the bids.
Only one – Giftland Office Max – participated again in the second process.
Both CCS and Digital Technology, companies which submitted bids in the earlier tender, were not mentioned during the bids opening, last Tuesday.
Last month, the OLPF office said the re-tendering for the laptops was imperative, as “none of the bids submitted in the first round of tender were fully compliant with the tender requirements.” Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh had said that the government decided not to give the contract to CCS, which was the company nearest to meeting the requirement, and to move to re-tender instead.
In re-tendering, the government is moving to adjust the technical specifications for the laptops it wants.
The re-tender also made adjustments in the bid documents for specifications including such issues as the technical specifications of the hardware to be procured, the software specs to be preloaded on the machines and the capacity of the suppliers to offer and service the required warranty provisions.
It is expected that the memory will be at least 2.0GB; a display screen of 10.1 inches; camera of 0.3 megapixels; two USB 2.0 ports; 1 RJ-45; headphones; microphones, card reader: MMC/SD Video Adaptor; Integrated Video with an operating system of a minimum Genuine Windows 7 Starter English (OEM).
It will also include a minimum two hours battery operational life and has the capacity to handle wireless data. In addition to anti-virus protection, the laptop or netbook should also give a one-year manufacturer’s warranty on parts and labour.
The overseas companies making bids were required to provide an authorized representative (s) in Guyana.
“Should an international bidding company not have representation in Guyana, it will confirm in writing as part of its bid to establish a local authorized representative within 21 days of signing of the contract and to provide copies of the NIS certificates of its local authorized representative once the representative has been established,” the government’s e-procure website had said.
Bidders also had to submit an authorization from a manufacturer for the supply of items with contact information to validate authorization.
Also needed was bid security, audited financial statements – for the past three available years preceding the year of the bid – and product brochures.
“…Documentary evidence to demonstrate that the company and/or agent has been in business of supplying similar equipment and has an office in Guyana to facilitate technical support, after sales service and warranty enforcement when needed. International bidders who do not have an office and authorized representative in Guyana must provide a declaration with their submitted bid stating that if awarded the contract they will establish a local representative and office in Guyana within twenty-one (21) days of signing the contract to provide spare parts, after sales service and warranty enforcement.”
The initial tender had seen heavy criticisms in some quarters with government being accused of, among other things, pre-determining the supplier of the laptops.
There were also accusations of not enough transparency.
The bids opened last Tuesday were:
|Bidder||Amount||Type of Netbook/Laptop|
|Fatz Express Packaging Services (T&T)||US$21,629,000||No sample submitted|
|InfoStock of Spain/Global Services Limited||US$8,748,000||MSI Brand Netbook|
|McEarney Business Machine (MBM) of Trinidad (Ansal McAl)||US$7,846,154||HP Netbook|
|Abboud Trading Corporation of Florida, USA||US$9,072,000||Samsung Netbook|
|Josh Gramhanssen of Denmark, Europe||US$7,479,000||Netbook PC (Made in China)|
|N.J. Computers of Trinidad||US$6,858,000||Acer Netbook|
|GOHIGH of China||US$7,141,500||Netbook PC (Made in China)|
|Haier Electrical Appliances Limited of China||US$8,316,000||Haier S19 Netbook|
|Deo Narine Singh/Nova Scotia Manufacturing Company (Guyana)||GY$1,633,554,000||Toshiba Netbook|
|Giftland Office Max (Guyana)||GY$1,466,775,000||ASUS Netbook|
|RRT Enterprise and Auto Sales of Guyana||GY$2,205,630,000||-Compaq Presario Laptop
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