On an email list of which I am part, trying to lobby the government and other sector players to adopt and local ICT solutions, this came through and can serve as an example of how and why the battle is real in our quest to grow local technology businesses. I share the same verbatim for your digest and opinion.
As we prepare to meet and firm up on the ICT Policies that we would like our Government to take regarding Procurement of ICT solutions, it is sad to see that, even with the creation of the Kenya ICT Authority the modus-operandi of old, still continues!
As an example, the Tender recently advertised by Kenya ICT Authority for Supply & Installation of a Transport Integrated Management System.
The technical specifications by themselves are quite achievable, but, as usual, the procurement regulations are almost un-achievable for Kenyan Software firms. Why?
- The requirement that you must have done 3 projects of at least Ksh 457 Million each means there is not a *SINGLE* local software firm that can bid.
- The requirement that the annual turnover for this company must be at least Ksh 170M means only but say 3-5 firms can actually bid for this job.
- The procurement regulations are absolute and not relative. Meaning, there are no marks to meet these requirements, its either you meet them or you don’t. It doesn’t matter whether you have or can make the best Transport Integrated System globally, it’s all about the money!
- Even if * consortiums of Kenyan software firms partnered to each produce a module, as an example, we still don’t meet Requirement 1.
- Even if you tried to partner with an international firm that has done this, why would they need to work with you, when they can just bid directly?
The only person who would be happy with this current arrangement would be a Tenderprenuer ( the cancer that is killing this country), who will get an International Partner for his 25% Cut to meet the right people, while our ‘rich’ country folks out Ksh 500M for a system that could have been developed and implemented at half that cost, employed not less than 30 Software Engineers and subsequently exported to other countries.
If we are serious about lobbying GoK to change the game, this is one golden opportunity that can test our resolve, strategies and also commitment, otherwise we’ll probably just be meeting on end and nothing ever will change.