Firms fall out of race to supply laptops

Friday January 8 2016

Hewlett-Packard East Africa Managing Director Charles Kuria during a past event.

Hewlett-Packard East Africa Managing Director Charles Kuria during a past event. The firm is among the final eight in the race to supply laptops to schools in the government's Sh17 billion programme, as the ICT Authority begins evaluating the technical bids. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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Two firms have fallen out of the race to deliver a Sh17 billion Digital Literacy Program, as the ICT Authority begins evaluating the technical bids.

Strathmore Research and Consultancy Centre said it had withdrawn its application, citing differences with its partner in the race.

The ICT Authority cancelled an application by Smoothtel & Data Solutions Ltd, a partner with Multimedia University, because the team arrived late for the opening of bids on Friday.

ICT Authority Director John Sergon told that the remaining eight participants would go through 30 days of evaluation, which entails assessing the technical expertise of the firms as “they must meet at least 70 per cent of the requirements to move to the next stage - assessing the financial bids - (and) the winners will be announced in February.”

“We sent the request for proposal documents to the 10 contestants, who were earlier shortlisted from a list of 25, (and) only eight managed to return the documents and they are qualified for the second round,” said Mr Sergon.

The final eight include top laptop manufacturers Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard (HP). The two are joined by consortia that consist of Kenyatta University, Dedan Kimathi University, Moi University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, the University of Nairobi and Multimedia University.

The ICT Authority is looking for either three companies or one that can supply teachers, learners and special-needs pupils’ devices. The firms will also be required to deliver and install servers, routers and projectors to the 22,000 primary schools countrywide.

“The winning firm will supply and install the devices, beginning with a set of 14 counties then the next 21 counties and 12 counties,” said Mr Henry Mung’asia, director of administration at the ICT ministry.

The plan outlined by the ICT Authority is that an estimated 294,981 pupil laptops and 23,951 teacher digital devices will be supplied to schools by July.

“The devices will be delivered over two financial years using funds budgeted for under the financial years 2015/2016 and 2016/2017,” the authority says in a statement.

Companies selected to supply the 22,000 public primary schools with the gadgets, the authority says, must have a local assembly plant and show the ability to supply the devices needed at an affordable cost.