The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) through its mandate to manage all public procurement and asset disposal transactions for Central Government, has urged IT/IS businesses to improve the quality of their proposals and service delivery in order to benefit from the tender competitions.
Ishmael Joseph, Executive Director, Services Division PPADB, explained that in a small economy such as Botswana, the Government is a major spending power and all the IT/IS businesses look up to the Government for support in the form of consumption of goods and services.
“The provision of IT/IS services is just one example of a number of services that Government requires from the private sector from time to time,” he said.
He noted that they have observed over time that there are few dominant players in the market in relation to the provision of IT/IS services to Government institutions.
“With regard to this observance we found at PPADB, it is our view that we should nurture competition, which is one of the statutory principles guiding procurement, particularly in the context of citizen economic empowerment within the sector,” he asserted.
Joseph said that information, learning and knowledge spectrum is critical to the performance of businesses like IT/IS.
“Putting together a tender should not be a particularly difficult exercise if given the attention it deserves,” he added.
He further said luck and greetings have no role to play in tendering.
“A well prepared and balanced bid stands well against any competition,” he said. He stated that business people should bear in mind that tendering is not chance but a matter of preparing a sound competitive tender.
In addition, he went on to say that, IT/IS service providers and procuring entities should improve whatever they have been doing less satisfactorily in order to ensure that the nation at large benefits from a fair, transparent, competitive and accountable procurement system that yields value for money.
“I wish to exhort all businesses to be proactive and propose innovative ways to work closely as interested stakeholders for our mutual benefit, and above all, for the good of the nation,” he said.
Joyce Mpete, Director of Information Technology (DIT) added that project management is also a big challenge in the sector. She explained that in most cases what is put in the proposal is not what is exactly done by the businesses.
“The country lacks reputable project managers and what usually happens is that businesses substitute resources after the tendering process”, she said.
She explained that one of the main reasons why most local businesses do not really deliver satisfactorily is because of the prime contractor versus sub contractor bids. “Local supplier will bid as prime for a business they are not familiar with and use the sub contractors as the core solution. What ends up happening is that the subcontractor bullies the prime because they know the prime depends on them for the success of the project,” she said.
Mpete further said that with the sub contractors calling the shots, conflicts arise and in the long run the project suffers.