The Federal Transport Authority (FTA) is about to cancel a multi-million birr purchase bid after finding out that it was a duplication of a project being undertaken by the Addis Ababa City Administration with a USD 300 million line of credit secured from the World Bank, sources close to the bidding process told The Reporter.
Among other things, funds are to be earmarked for establishing a secure database for drivers’ licensing as well as vehicles’ registration in Addis Ababa and the country at large.
The tender by the Addis Ababa City Administration was floated back in 2016 under the name of “Addis Ababa Urban Transport and National Driver Licensing and Vehicle Registration Modernization Project”. It includes three components, viz., developing integrated transport and management information system for driver licensing, vehicle registration and inspection as well as payment of fines.
The one by the FTA was also for a similar purpose of modernizing the system. By doing so, it also aimed at overcoming forgery of driving licenses.
Some ten international IT firms represented by their local agents were participating in the bidding process, which began two years ago. The bid was meant to introduce a biometrics-based driver licensing system for motorists in Ethiopia. The project is estimated to cost close to USD 10 million.
The authority announced back in September 2016 that Supercom Ltd, an Israeli company, and M2M Group, a firm based in Morocco, Veridos, Muhlbaure, Madras, and Supercom Ltd were short-listed.
Following an announcement by the authority, the bidders were waiting for financial opening and demonstration of the the new system.
“We have been waiting for a long time,” an agent of one of the short-listed companies told the Reporter.
This will definitely affect our future relationship with our partners, according to one agent. They added that some companies might not be interested in bidding for similar projects in Ethiopia any more.
“So far, there has been no word on the future of the bid process from the authority,” said another agent.
The project, which is being run by the Addis Ababa Transport Authority, is at a bidding stage and they are now selecting a consultant which will oversee the project.
“We have decided to cancel the bid because the one by Addis Ababa city is now progressing well,” said a member of the tender evaluation committee under the FTA.
The bidding process was overseen by a committee whose members were drawn from the FTA and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT).
It is to be recalled that in a bid to implement a biometric driving license system, the FTA has already purchased 400,000 polycarbonate cards back in 2013 from Techno Brain.
“We now know about the overlap of the projects,” said Kassahun Hailemaraim, director of the FTA. But he refrained from commenting on the cancellation.