Over three years now, South African consultant firm has still not handed over the Malawi Traffic Information System (MalTIS) to the Ministry of Transport and Public Works after failing to meet three deadlines over that period.
Sources say through the delays, the government is losing millions that would be paid to the firm — Movesa & Fischer Consulting — in service payments, which are paid in foreign currency.
The firm was first given a January 2018 deadline to hand over the system and when it did not meet it, a fresh deadline of June 2019 was made in January that year.
In November last year, the Ministry’s spokesperson, Andrew Mthinko told the media that “the development, testing and handover of the modules as stipulated in the contract between the Ministry and Movesa & Fischer Consulting were steps towards handover of the management of the system” by the end of the year.
But eight months down the line, Mthiko still says the handover process is still underway, saying the “upgrade of the MalTIS was implemented in modular format”.
“In as much as we have seen success completion and delivery of some modules in the MalTIS as stipulated in the contract, the consultant has however, not completed upgrading other modules and some operational errors are still persistent.
“The System’s source code, firewall, database and help desk management have not been handed over to the Ministry of Transport and Public Works,” Mthiko said in an interview.
In the media report last November, the then DRTSS Director Fergus Gondwe had told The Nation newspaper then that government still owed Fischer Consulting some payment but did not disclose how much.
This was confirmed by Mthiko that the Ministry “has not completed payments to the consultant until the outstanding modules and system errors are resolved”.
It was also reported that Movesa & Fischer Consulting was supposed to facilitate skills transfer of the MalTIS system, and asked if this was done, Mthiko confirmed that the contract required that the consultant should deliver a complete skills transfer program covering both operational and technical support required to manage the system.
“The delivery of skills to ICT officers in the Ministry was partially done and not conclusive. The element of skills transfer that was not completed is among the outstanding areas that the Ministry is awaiting the consultant to deliver for the effective management of the system once it is handed over.”
He explained that Movesa (Motor Vehicle Spares and Accessories) — a Malawian registered firm — and the South African Fischer Consortium is a joint venture of the two companies.
Asked how the MalTIS system came into Malawi and if there was a proper bidding process to identify the consultant to create the system, Mthiko said “all competetive procurement processes were followed” and that the Ministry “formulated Terms of Reference which were a basis for calling for expression interests for firms that were interested”.
“The firms interested submitted technical and financial proposals that were subjected to scrutiny by Internal Procurement Committee and a successful evaluated bidders was offered a contract to upgrade the MalTIS.
“Call for expression of interest was advertised in the national media and all the procurement processes were vetted by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA).”
Reports reaching Nyasa Times are that the firm Movesa originated from Mozambique but the owner, Moshin Salim said his company is 100% Malawian owned and he distanced himself from the MalTIS delays, saying the logistics partnership he had with Fischer Consortium ended a year ago.
Not long ago, Malawian firms were not pleased over Movesa’s monopoly in the contract with the government to emboss vehicle registration plates.
Mthiko, while not confirm the reports that Movesa is a Mozambican firm, said there are currently more number plate embosser companies and government department in the country.
“Currently there are two licenced blank number plate importers and that the DRTSS advertised in media in April, 2021 a call for applicants to provide this service and “the response has been so far very good,” he said.
He added that such firms’ licences are granted by the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) as mandated by the Road Traffic Act, 1997 to import blank number plates and also to licence Malawi registered companies number plates embossers.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :