Chinese company wins laptop bid

Haier Electrical Appliances Limited, a Chinese company put in the best bid out of the top three bidders for the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) programme, Finance Minister Ashni Singh today announced.

Minister Singh was addressing reporters at a post-Cabinet Press briefing hosted by Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon.

He said that the government had reopened the bidding process to encourage wider participation after only three bids were received. He said that for this re-tender eleven tenders were received.

Singh stated that three bidders with the highest ranked tenders were recommended by the Evaluation Unit to the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board.  He said that the best bidder was an International One – Haier Electrical Appliances Limited of China. A sample of the laptop was produced for the media to see.

Meanwhile Dr. Luncheon later interrupted saying that cabinet had granted its no objection to the award of US$7.5 million for the project.

The project was initially launched in January, when 142 computers were ceremonially handed over to students from four entities. It was later disclosed that the computers were bought with a controversial US$50,000 gift from Chinese company Huawei, after it had won a US$14M contract to lay fibre optic cables here.

According to the Project Unit, once families receive their laptops, they will benefit from continuous technical support and learning guidance and will have the opportunity to enhance their learning by progressing from basic to intermediary and advanced levels, through their ICT Hubs.

The laptops will be equipped with a range of learning tools, anti-theft security features and internet ready portals. The care and safe keeping of the laptops will be the responsibility of the recipients, said the flyer.

It was reported earlier that several entities, including community-based organizations, youth groups, learning institutions and schools, religious entities and sector bodies from all regions in the country, had applied to become OLPF community hubs. The hubs “will be required to provide a conducive learning environment and their own facilitators who will be accredited by the OLPF Project Unit; or accommodate OLPF accredited training volunteers, for the provision of technical support to the process, while facilitating and monitoring the technical and social learning progress of participating families”.

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