The Malawi Government has included the software brand that has been in use for the country’s Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) which is blamed for “cashgate” corruption scandal as government prepares to install a new system at a cost of US$10 million.
Malawi Government started calling for bids for a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system solution through the local press but withdrew the advertisement on Friday following criticism levelled against Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe for allegedly favouring the existing software provider, Epicor, despite the cashgate woes with IFMIS.
Gondwe, however , told a news conference at Capital Hill in Lilongwe that as government is currently working to migrate out of the system, it would now tender for software companies and not packages as before, rejecting claims that they are clinging to the ‘cashgate’ software.
“We have to tender so that people should apply and no decision has been made yet. We don’t want to sustain a Cashgate situation, no. In fact we are working day and night to close the gaps,” he said.
The minister, while referring to studies by experts from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said migrating to new software would take a bit of time before it becomes functional.
“We know that the current system has deficiencies and our policy is to enhance the efficiencies such as speed and particularly we need to have a new server to increase the capacity of the present epicol 7.3 software,” stated the minister.
According to a document that experts prepared before government started calling for bids for a new ERP system, Treasury research ranked the top five appropriate ERP solutions as SAP; Oracle Financials; Microsoft Dynamics; Infor and Epicor.
The Treasury report indicated that it believed SAP and Oracle to be the best ERP solutions, with Oracle-based ERP described as being particularly suited to the Malawi Government due to its high customer satisfaction rate, wide range of functionality, far much more flexibility, and short implementation period.
Treasury Spokesperson Nations Msowoya said even though Epicor ranks last on the top five list, it remains a reputable vendor in this area.
“The decision is to have only the world’s leading providers compete,” he said.
Findings by the treasury in a report released in November 2014 indicated that the Government has been operating the Epicor-based IFMIS since 2005 and it is reportedly believed that K92 billion was looted from state coffere from 2005 to 2012 and then K22 billion from 2012 to 2013.
Finance Minister Gondwe said that even despite the “Cashgate” issues, it had been decided to include Epicor as a contender because it has a number of more recent versions.
Gondwe said government withdrew tender advert because government realised that “it needed to do a lot more such as adding on specifications of the ERP to address current system’s weaknesses.”.
Accountant General Thomas Makiwa stated that the withdraw of the advert in the press is meant to enhance it as the initial one was devoid of some key information to the potential suppliers.
Meanwhile the treasury has put in place short to medium term strategies that will ensure that the current Epicor system operates optimally. These include improving the performance of the current system by reducing the size of the Epicor database and enhancing the server infrastructure by procuring new servers.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :