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Laptop project tenders cancelled

Education Secretary has cancelled tenders for the Free Laptop project after failing to secure a winning bid.

Secretary Prof Jacob Kaimenyi on Thursday said the lowest bidder had quoted Sh32 billion for supply of the 1.3 million gadgets against the ministry’s budget of Sh12 billion.

The high cost, according to Prof Kaimenyi, is due to additional costs like transport, storage and insurance which had not been factored in the original estimation.

The initial estimation had only been done for individual laptops.

He also cited the higher specifications demanded by the government from the original estimates which were based on simpler models.

Mr Kaimenyi insisted that “the procurement proceedings must ensure economy, efficiency, transparency and accountability.”

“We are in consultation with various government departments and we will go out of our way to ensure that come December this year, whichever method we are going to use, we do it in such a manner that the gadgets will be ready,” he said.

“It is also possible for the bidders to have colluded because the amount of money involved here is colossal,” he added.

The process to fast-track the procurement will kick off next week.

The tender for 1.3 million laptops, 20,367 projectors and 20,367 printers was advertised in August and had originally attracted 126 firms.

However only three unnamed bidders made it to the technical evaluation stage out of the 20 firms that returned their bid documents.

The termination poses a major challenge to the project already on a tight time frame. Pupils are meant to have the gadgets from the beginning of next year.

Other facets of the laptop programme are on course, with 150 master trainers already trained. They will in turn train 3,000 trainers who will pass the same to 60,000 teachers.

Digital content for various subjects has also been piloted.