The Jubilee’s government promise on free laptops for standard one pupils is finally hitting the road, the government has shortlisted three international companies eyeing to undertake the task almost all of them with an unexpectedly off-target quotation going against government’s own anticipations. Free laptops are expected to become a reality for pupils joining standard one in Kenya at the end of the 2014’s first quarter. Interestingly, all shortlist are from different countries with advanced technology developments, we expected companies from countries like China to feature prominently on the list due to their affordability nature but in a twist of our expectations, only China’s Haier managed to feature on the list of potential firms.
Haier Electricals Appliances Corporation emerged with the highest bid of the two at Ksh.24 billion, approximately $278 million followed by Hewlett Packard (HP) with a quotation of Ksh.23 billion ($266 million) and Indian device manufacturer Olive Telecommunications summing-up the list with a Ksh22 billion quote ($254 million). The tender which was re-advertised after the initial unsuccessful attempt includes the supply, delivery, installation and commissioning of computing devices and solutions for ICT integration in education for primary schools as well as supplying more than 20,600 laptops for teachers. The quotations are much reasonable comparing with the initial tender and are expected to save the Kenyan government more than Ksh10 billion ($115 million) when HP commercial was the lowest bidder at Ksh32 billion ($370 million) with a unit price of Ksh23000 per laptop almost double the government’s budget.
Despite a reduction in bidding price, the quotations are still far beyond the government’s budget as advertised on August 2nd for 1.3 million laptops, 20,367 projectors and 20,367 printers. The government set a side Kshs53 billion for the program in June’s national budget to be implemented in four phases with an estimated slice of Ksh12 billion used in the first phase. The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education had indicated the tender would be concluded in two weeks after proper evaluation of the lowest bidder including a visit to the Olive Telecommunications.