After months of uncertainty, government has confirmed that it has awarded a tender to supply Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) software to a Zimbabwe-based company, Twenty Third Century.
Ifmis came under scrutiny in 2013 when it was discovered that billions of kwachas were stolen at Capital Hill.
Since the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to power in 2014, it promised to implement a new Ifmis to control over expenditure in government as well as enhance transparency and accountability.
However, three years after government invited companies to submit tenders for the supply of Ifmis, Minister of Finance, Goodall Gondwe told Nation on Sunday in a telephone interview last week that government has finally settled for Twenty Third Century.
Twenty Third Century had a bid price of $13. 8 million.
The other two companies-Transnational Computer Technologies had set its bid price at $12.2 million and Free Balance set its offer at S$13 .9 million.
Gondwe said the deal with Twenty Third Century will be concluded within this financial year.
Gondwe said Twenty Third Century has proved to be good and is also providing similar services to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ghana.
“We are quite comfortable with that. We followed him up to Zambia to see what he is doing, we have been to Harare and Ghanaians sent an official here who spoke well about him. So, we have decided to adopt him,” he said.
He said government has the resources to procure the software and should there be a shortfall: “We will go for a credit somewhere.”
Gondwe explained that the challenge was that government has been changing accountant generals, saying: “That will delay us, but we are determined to do it within the financial year.”
Chairperson for the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament Rhino Chiphiko once told our sister paper, Weekend Nation that government was dilly-dallying in the procurement of a new Ifmis as they are perpetuating Cashgate.
“Although our role is oversight, we do not get involved in issues of procurement, but when things come up we speak against them or for them,” he said.
Chiphiko said as a committee, they are looking for more information leading to the process of procurement.
But former accountant general Chrighton Chimombo explained that the evaluation of the bids followed a four-stage process, including technical evaluation, financial evaluation, due diligence and live system demonstration.
“From the technical and financial evaluation, three bids were successful. These bids were ranked as Trans National Computer Technology (TCT) offering Oracle ERP as number one, Twenty Third Century Systems offering SAP ERP as number two and FreeBalance offering FreeBalance ERP as number three,” he said.
Chimombo farther explained that a due diligence exercise was done on sites that were referenced by the three bidders as part of the evaluation process.
“The exercise was meant to confirm that the bidders successfully implemented the systems in the referenced sites and also to get an appreciation of the feedback from the clients. This process resulted in the disqualification of Freebalance,” he said.
Chimombo said government proceeded with the fourth stage of evaluation which was live system demonstrations.
He said TCT, as the lowest evaluated bidder was the first to go between March 8 and 10, 2017.
“It failed because it did not respond to functional requirements.
“Twenty Third Century Systems conducted its live system demonstration from June 18 to 20 2017. It passed and awarded the contract to implement the new Ifmis,” he said.
It has taken government four years to procure Ifmis.
The tendering process was cancelled when the World Bank came in to help in the procurement process and the tendering method shifted from restricted to open.