The Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) on Tuesday unveiled six firms to participate in the procurement process of the $20 million World Bank-funded Regional Communications Infrastructure Programme Malawi (RCIPMW) connectivity transaction.
PPPC chief executive officer Jimmy Lipunga told a news conference in Blantyre that six interested bidders out of 14 have been prequalified to further participate in the procurement process.
“The transaction procedures started by the commissioning of a detailed feasibility study in 2010. The study carried out by an independent consulting firm demonstrated that the transaction as planned by government was viable from the legal, technical and financial perspectives,” he said.
The six firms prequalified and recommended are; China International Telecommunication Construction Corporation (CITCC) registered in China, GPEC Inc in joint venture with SK Telecom from USA and South Korea, Malawi Virtual Landing Point (MVLP) joint venture consortium from South Africa, SimbaNet Tanzania Limited in association with Airtel Bharti registered in Tanzania and Singapore respectively, SK Broadband from South Korea and Soliton Telmec Limited registered in Kenya.
An evaluation committee to choose the firms comprised the PPPC, Ministry of Information and Civic Education, Office of the President and Cabinet (e-Government department) and the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra).
RCIP is a World Bank programme for which more than 25 countries in east, central and west Africa are eligible and the project is divided into three components, namely; enabling environment, connectivity and project management.
RCIPMW connectivity transaction has two objectives; to improve the quality, availability and affordability of internet capacity within Malawi for both public and private users and to also provide a long-term connectivity solution, including internet to government and the public sector.
Lipunga said since this is a massive project, both objectives will be accomplished by using the government’s purchasing power for international connectivity, thereby ensuring that Malawi has economically efficient public access to submarine cable which landed along the east coast of Africa.
The PPPC is expected to sign a contract with the winning bidder and to be awarded a licence by Macra by August 2013.
With the project in place, the target is to reduce internet charges from around $3 000 per megabyte per second per month to around $500 or less per megabyte per second per month.
Under the project, the Malawi Government has taken a position relating to promotion of competition in the national economy through the promulgation of the Competition and Fair Trading Act of 2003 which establishes the Competition and Fair Trading Commission.
The same position is echoed by the Communications Act of 1998; hence, the technical solution to be deployed under the RCIPMW will be competition friendly.