By our reporter
The National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) has dismissed the recent media reports which purported flaws in the bidding process for a World Bank-funded internet connectivity infrastructure project, being implemented by the Authority.
“The procurement process was adhered to with the requisite quality checks along the way, ”Authority said in an official communication.
The Government of Uganda (GoU), through NITA-U, is in the process of implementing the National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure and e-Government Infrastructure (NBI/EGI) project to connect all major towns across the country including Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies via an optical fiber cable network so as to reduce the cost of public administration, support delivery of secure e-Government services as well as enhance communications services in the country.
Following the successful completion of Phases I – III of the NBI/EGI Project, as part of a deliberate effort to ensure the network is able to consistently provide 99.9%, the Missing Links project was started upon. The Missing Links project details laying out of concentric rings connected through optical fiber cable that will ensure self-resilient National Communications Infrastructure.
As per normal procedure with Government procurements that are donor-funded, NITA-U embarked on the Missing Links procurement process as per the World Bank guidelines for International Competitive bidding.
The Authority says that during the pre-bid stage, all suppliers were invited to view the bid specification and it was at this stage that if a particular supplier had concerns with the bid specification detail, they would raise concern. It claims that no concerns were registered and this signaled the transition to the next stage of the procurement process.
This, therefore, infers that should any impropriety been registered, it would have been picked up and addressed.
In addition, the World Bank uses its global technical experts to audit/review and subsequently approve the documents and the completion of each and every stage.
NITA-U reassures its stakeholders that all bid specification documentation was prepared internally by a technically competent and highly skilled team of knowledge matter experts.