Ministry of Transport and Public Works has found itself in a fix over the upgraded Malawi Traffic Information System (Maltis) as the contractor is yet to conduct skills transfer and provide information.
In the same vein, it has been learnt that government is behind schedule in paying the contractor, Fischer and Movesa Consulting, who are owed about 12 million rands (about K600 million). The total cost of the contract was 38 million rands (about K1.6 billion).
The ministry’s chief road traffic officer Fergus Gondwe disclosed this last week when the Department of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Government Assurances and Public Service Reforms to appraise them on the progress on the Maltis upgrade.
He told the committee that the Maltis implementation committee highlighted to the steering committee the challenges being experienced in the upgrade and invited the Fischer and Movesa Consulting to a meeting on September 29 2017.
Said Gondwe: “The meeting was called to discuss the challenges and handover of the system, but the contractor said he would not be available and instead suggested October 9 or 10th. We are waiting for the confirmation of the date to agree on how the challenges can be ironed out.”
During the meeting with the contractor, DRTSS is expected to present the challenges to the contractor, procedures for the handover of the system and presentation of the source code which Gondwe said is a critical part of the handover.
He said the challenges include system management still being done by consultant, keeping the DRTSS out of control on what happens in terms of changes or upgrades.
Reads the report submitted to the committee: “The consultant has been reluctant to gradually handover the system and even the network management. This includes the help desk activities.
“DRTSS staff were identified and trained on how to log issues/tickets, but they have no idea on what happens at the back end to resolve those issues.
“There is also slow progress by the consultant to rectify problems with regards to system errors such as the issuance of tickets for speed cameras.
“Skills transfer has not yet taken place and management is waiting for FMC for agreement on the plan to do skills transfer to DRTSS staff.”
Mzimba Solora member of Parliament (MP) Jacob Hara wondered if the contractor was reluctant to handover the system to DRTSS because he was yet to be paid in full.
In response, Gondwe said: “On payment, we are on course, but behind schedule. There is a debt of R12 million which we are owing the consultant. We have his money, but he has services which have not been completed; hence, the roundtable discussion.”
Our sister newspaper, the Weekend Nation, recently reported that the contractor was yet to link the system of the Malawi Posts Corporation (MPC) one stop centre in Mangochi to the DRTSS headquarters in Lilongwe.
In a telephone interview a few weeks ago chief director of public service reforms in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), Seodi White, admitted that there were misunderstandings between MPC and the contractor on the issue of firewall authorising licensing and that the matter was resolved.
However, she could not clarify on why the contractor seemed not to be fully cooperating, saying what is important is that the matter was resolved.
Ministry of Transport and Public Works engaged Fischer and Movesa Consulting to upgrade Maltis in 2014 to improve service delivery.
Notable successes under the system include interfacing with Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and Interpol, introduction of biometrics verification, automation of vehicle testing to improve road safety, improved revenue collection and introduction of an electronic document filing system. n