Government yet to decide on new Ifmis vendor


Capital Hill is yet to decide on the firm from which it would procure a new Integrated Financial Management and Information System (Ifmis).
Last year, the government floated an international tender for companies to bid for the provision of the technology.
Treasury spokesperson, Davis Sado, said on Tuesday about 13 international firms expressed interest in supplying Capital Hill with new technology.
Sado said the process has delayed because of legal challenges put forward by other firms regarding the selection criteria.
He could, however, not indicate when the new vendor would be identified to supply the new Ifmis. Last year, Secretary to the Treasury appointed a new Chief Director of Ifmis to oversee the sustained operations of the current Ifmis as well as the implementation of the new one.
In its November 2017 Technical Assistance Report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) applauded the appointment, saying it would help in strengthening institutional arrangements for both the current and new Ifmis, which have separate section heads.
IMF, however, said despite the appointment, concerns remain regarding the overall adequacy of human resources to support both systems during the transition period.
“This relates to both numbers of staff and specialist skills. It is vital that the Government of Malawi staff participate fully alongside vendor counterparts, so that skills are transferred in all aspects of the technologies being implemented.
“The required skills include data centre management, hardware support, connectivity support and network operating systems, database development, database administration, systems security and systems administration (technical),” IMF said.
The Bretton Woods institution said the different roles and responsibilities need to be planned ahead of time by the various officials to avoid holding up the vendor and incurring expensive cost-overruns.
The IMF advised that, prior to contracting, it will be vital that the respective responsibilities of purchaser and supplier are fully understood and agreed as part of the contract.
“Government should ensure it does not sign up top responsibilities, which it cannot live up to. It needs to be recognised that many activities during implementation are concurrent, so staff engaged on configuration may not be available for delivering training or other activities,” IMF said.
The IMF observed that the implementation of an Ifmis vendor is a complex, highly technical intervention, requiring expertise at a level which is probably beyond the current capacity within the Ministry of Finance.
“This expertise on many implementations is provided in the form of a highly experienced international consultant. It would be worthwhile considering this option, and seek early agreement with the development partners on funding this.
“It is understood that under the specification of requirements, the vendor is only required to deliver training to the core Ifmis team, which will then rollout training to the whole end-user community. This is a huge undertaking and a high-risk option. It could lead to disagreement on problems experienced during implementation like, adequacy and quality of the training and impacting on milestone deliverables,” the IMF said.
It further noted that, with a large user-base, such as 1,000 plus users, it may be necessary to have a sizeable team dedicated to the training.

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