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Govt. one laptop per family programme…– Minister Jennifer Webster tells Parliament– No procurement bids undertakenThe government yesterday said that the cost for one of the laptops under the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) Project would cost $295,000 even with the absence of any public bidding process thus far.“The cost is quite competitive,” Minister within the Ministry of Finance Jennifer Webster said in Parliament. She stressed that the cost for “installation” is also included.However, the most extensive search for the netbooks on the internet and from retailers in the  United States failed to provide one such laptop for more than US$500 ($100,000). Most were being retailed for US$225 ($45,000) per laptop.These Lenovo netbooks were coming with a 160 gigabit hard drive and 3 GB memory. The types said to be imported by the government fitted this category and being bought in bulk,Cheap Jerseys Online, would cost much less. Some local importers said that they could be procured for no more than US$200 ($40,Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys,000).Executive laptops used by designers and professionals cost less than the government- touted US$1,500 ($295,000).“Something is horribly wrong with the price quoted by Minister Webster. She must be quoting the price for some sophisticated piece of equipment used by spy agencies,” one businessman said.Called upon by Opposition Parliamentarian Deborah Backer to talk about the bidding process, Webster said that it was ongoing. Pressed further, the Minister said she was in possession of no bids, and the estimated cost was provided by the Project Management Unit.The government’s procurement website (eprocure.gov.gy) has no listing under the Office of the President inviting bids for the procurement of the laptops. This is despite the fact that government has already brought in a quantity of the Lenovo brand of computers, and ceremonially handed over 100 of these on January 21, 2011.The project is being administered under the Office of the President, and $1.8 billion was budgeted for that purpose this year. Minister Webster said that 27,000 of the computers would be sourced this year. The government intends to provide 90,Wholesale China Jerseys,000 of the laptops free of cost to mainly poor families, single mothers, and vulnerable groups. The Minister also noted that some of the funding for the project is being provided by the government of China.Asked by Opposition Parliamentarians how the procurement of the laptops is being done,nhl jerseys outlet, the Minister said that it would be done through a competitive bidding process. Asked by Kaieteur News how the initial set of laptops which are already in the country were sourced,Wholesale NFL Jerseys Online, she gave the same answer – through a competitive bidding process.The Government Information Agency (GINA) has quoted President Bharrat Jagdeo as expressing surprise that the main opposition spokesperson on economics,Cheap NHL Jerseys, Volda Lawrence, questioned the rationale behind the project and the criteria to be used.“The criteria were announced and the money is in the budget… but to even question something like that… means you are seriously out of touch with what it takes to build a modern country,” Jagdeo is quoted by GINA as saying.The government has not clearly defined how families could benefit from the computers. A flyer distributed at the launch has the bold headline: “Want to be part of OLPF?” But no clear details are provided as to how to do so, not even contact information for the Project Office, which is located in the Office of the President.The information flyer stated that the government would provide home-based computer and community training support; reporting tools – access and print, view progress information real time; and an OP (Office of the President) completion certificate.Community centres opting into the project would receive incentives such as subsidised internet access, free wireless router, and training material.Kaieteur News has sought clarity from Senior Project Manager Sesh Sukhdeo on the criteria to be used to select families for the laptops and what their responsibilities would be.An interview was requested two Mondays ago, but when Kaieteur News turned up for the interview, Sukhdeo said that when he had set the time he was unaware that he had another appointment but that he would set a new time.As of yesterday, Sukhdeo did not set a new time and when his office was contacted, this newspaper was told that Sukhdeo was out of the country.
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