Contractors shun PPADB’s online bidding

Contractors are shying away from using the Integrated Procurement Management System (IPMS), which is currently being piloted by the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB).

IPMS was implemented by PPADB at the beginning of the year to ensure efficiency and convenience to bidders. Through the IPMS, contractors can view and download published tenders online as well as submit bids through the e-bidding functionality.

It consists of contractors’ registration module, procurement planning, capacity building, invitations to tender, asset disposal, e-bidding (e-tendering) and adjudication modules.

According to the PPADB ICT manager, Oteng Raesima contractors have not been coming forward to utilise the system, which has made it difficult to evaluate headway in the project whose pilot phase was meant to take a year.

“We have also learnt that most of our clients still lack access to computers while some prefer not to embrace technology. But this does not give us a good chance to evaluate if the system is effective or not considering that it is still on pilot phase,” said Raesima.

“Just recently we have been inviting them on daily basis to try and impart the knowledge with them but unfortunately on Monday this week, out of the 25 contractors who agreed to come for training, only six of them showed up.

Yesterday, only 12 contractors came from the other 25 who had promised to come,” said Raesima. In the year up to to March 2015, the board registered 12, 335 contractors, of  which 39 percent were works contractors, followed by supplies at 36 percent and services at 25 percent.

Raesima added that they will soon embark on more educational campaigns to sensetise the public, especially contractors about the importance of the IPMS.

The full implementation process of IPMS is expected to commence next year depending on the outcome of the pilot project.

However, Raesima added that while the low Internet speed in the country might also be a challenge, they have provided Internet facilities to contractors for free at their Resource Centre where they are even offered free training on how to use the system.

Currently, there is limited Internet capacity countrywide with average bandwidth hovering at around 128 megabyte per second(MB/S), while IPMS uses 512 MB/S.

In April, PPADB rolled out this service to more government departments like Ministry of Agriculture, Botswana Police Service, Botswana Defence Force, Department of Buildings and Engineering Services, Central Medical Stores (CMS) as well as the Department of Roads.

“The process is going smoothly at these departments, except that we had to do a different Bill of Quantities for DBES, CMS and DRTS so that they can be able to do their own prices,” said Raesima.

The rollout is also expected to be done at Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Transport and Communications as well as Ministry of Infrastructure Science and Technology by December this year.

PPADB has also said bidders community mostly tend to rely on consultants for registration and miss out on tracking the programme of their applications and submitting additional information on time.

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