In a bid to supply 180,000 digital tablets for the upcoming national census, two IT firms have passed into the financial stage of the tender process. Last week, the Federal Public Procurement and Property Disposal Service, the office which is conducting the purchase on behalf of the Agency, have announced the result.
In this respect, Bak USA and Huawei from China have managed to pass through to the next stage.
Out of nine companies who were invited in a restricted tender by the only eight of them were evaluated on the technical stage. A company called G-Tide has failed to pass the pre-technical assessment.
The reason for the failure was that the document submitted by the so-called representative of G-Tide failed to meet the legal requirement, according to sources from the Service.
The Service invited G-Tide as an international company, an expert at the Service said. But the document that was submitted on behalf of G-Tide was actually from a local company.
This is the second time where the Service evaluated the technical proposal of the contending companies after cancelling the earlier one.
A need for a revision of technical specification of the tablets was said be a reason behind the re-evaluation of the technical documents.
The cancellation of the first round of the bid has prolonged the delivery time by almost one month. Given the time table when the census will be conducted, the first delivery was scheduled for May, 2017.
However, due to the delay the delivery is now extended to June 2017.
During the first round the companies were requested to supply tablets with replaceable batteries. This, however, was later amended into a sealed one.
The evaluation was conducted by a committee of experts from the Ministry of Communication & Information Technology (MoCIT), and the Information Network & Security Agency (INSA). The committee is chaired by Tabbit Ahmed.
However, other sources linked the cancellation with irregularities which were observed during the first round of the bid process. According to participants of the bid process, who spoke to The Reporter earlier, the offers of each bidder were circulated before the official opening.
The Service has then invited 18 companies where nine of them showed interest.
In the latest result, seven companies have failed to pass the technical stage. This includes companies such as I-Life, Tecno, ZTE, Simbo Resource, Lenovo and Mustek Africa Ltd.
“Those who failed the technical evaluation have filed their complaint to us,” Solomon Beter, head of the procurement, told The Reporter.
“We will look into each case separately,” he said.
The finance for the procurement will come from the three billion birr budget allocated for the national census. The tablets will cost over one billion birr.
Once the purchase made, the delivery will be done using airplanes. In order to minimize the risk the battery of the tablets will be charged up to 30 percent only.
After the upcoming census conducted in late 2017 the tablets will be used for other nation wide data gathering.