The Accountant General (AG) has succumbed to pressure and will now engage Parliament and other stakeholders in negotiations with the winning bidder for the procurement of the new Information Financial Integrated Management Systems (Ifmis) software.
According to AG Chrighton Chimombo, negotiations have now commenced with the winning bidder and it is expected that the process will be finalised in a few weeks.
Earlier, some stakeholders, including Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament expressed reservations with the process and described it as ‘flawed’. But the AG now seems to have softened his stand and has indicated that all input from stakeholders will be taken on board.
Meanwhile, PAC chairperson Alekeni Menyani has requested Treasury to furnish the committee with the new information so that there is transparency from now onwards.
“The information that is coming out now [from AG] should be put in writing to the committee so that we move together,” he said.
The stakeholders were questioning the AG’s rationale in settling for a third and more expensive bidder, a Zimbabwean firm, Twenty -Third Century, who was demanding K10.3 billion ($14 million), with a recurring cost of K2.2 billion ($3 million) every three months.
In an e-mailed response to our questionnaire, Chimombo said that the Ifmis project is important and, therefore, government needs to proceed with speed in finalising the procurement process.
The stakeholders suggested to government to restart the bidding process in the procurement of the software.
Twelve firms expressed interest in the 2015 bidding process that saw the lowest bidder charging K1.1 billion ($7 million).
But Chimombo said: “The stakeholders are now being informed of the progress on the negotiation process.
Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe said the new Ifmis is expected to improve public finance management.
The bid opening was conducted in Salima on September 11 2015 where 12 bids were opened and their respective prices were announced.