23 May 2007

The Web
Business Today

Malta Today



Leasing model – ‘best option’ for government’s IT requirements – MIITI

Gerald Fenech

After a careful analysis of the options available for the upgrading of government’s IT system by Price Waterhouse Coopers, it was decided that the best opportunity for government’s pre-requisites was through a leasing model.
This was confirmed by a spokesperson from the Ministry for Industry, IT and Investments after questions sent by Business Today on the issue which erupted after the Chamber for Small and Medium Enterprises (GRTU) declared that the decision in favour of a lease agreement would seriously dent the IT commercial community’s opportunities for business
“Government has given instructions to MITTS to evaluate the best way how it can secure the best model through which it upgrades the existent stock of computers, some of which goes back to the 90s, to assure that the both those working at the public service and the children at schools have the latest technology at their desks. In doing so, the Government commissioned Price Waterhouse Coopers to make an analysis of what options exist keeping in perspective the issues pertaining to the baseline cost of ownership, disposal of computer and the lack of standardisation. The study by PWC showed that the leasing model presented the best opportunities in view of our pre-requisites”.
The spokesperson explained that the government published the tender after a thorough assessment of the leasing option. This model has its financial benefits which include cutting down on costs due to the critical mass of a bulk lease for the entire service and savings from maintaining similar and compatible technology throughout its branches. “The leasing option will also provide a scheduled technology refresh and the flexibility to change or upgrade the hardware before the end of its natural lifecycle. Through the outsourcing of the maintenance of the computers, MITTS will be able to focus more on its real job: that of advising the Government on the use of technology in its operations and provide services that are critical to the Government’s operations”.
Asked how the government reacts to GRTU’s claim that this tender discourages competition as it will favour only big companies, the spokesperson said that such a claim is unfair and is also unacceptable.
“The new method won’t impose any distortion of the current competitive structure. Competition in principle should not rely on public expenditure and in any case must not rely on inefficient wasteful and unnecessary public expenditure. The facts are that the tender does not preclude the participation of any company because of its size and strength. In fact the tender provides various options that could be provided by small and medium IT companies”.
Asked why the tender process was not discussed with the GRTU, the spokesperson said that MITTS made several attempts to meet the GRTU to discuss this change in the procurement process but the GRTU did not respond to repeated requests on the matter.
“Moreover, MITTS has expressly advised all bidders it is ready to hold as many briefing sessions as is necessary, provided that these are held with all interested bidders.
Asked what is to happen to the computers that are currently used by government, the spokesperson said that this is being viewed as an opportunity to boost its digital divide program.
“Despite all the efforts that the Ministry has taken in its battle to curb on the digital divide, there remains a gap which we are aiming to bridge through this initiative since not all computers currently in use are beyond refurbishment and re-use in another context. In fact the bidders are to propose a scheme for the refurbishment and resale/reuse of the PCs. The re-furbished computers will be passed on to families and organisations that cannot afford a new computer but wish to join the information society anyway. The first group of beneficiaries will be the disabled and we will work with KNPD to ensure that those in need will benefit from this initiative. This will not be a one-off event”, the spokesperson concluded.

Business Today is published weekly on Wednesdays.
Website is updated weekly on Thursdays
Copyright © MediaToday., Malta
Managing Editor - Saviour Balzan

Business Today, MediaToday, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
Tel: (356) 2138 2741 | Fax: (356) 2138 5075 | E-mail