Botswana M&E system aborted

Escalating contractor costs have led the Botswana Government to terminate a P55m ($7,6m) contract with Accenture for the development of  an M&E system that would have helped it to monitor the implementation of development projects. The contract was agreed in 2008 to serve the Government Implementation Coordinating Office (GICO) – a department falling directly under President Ian Khama – to track and monitor project implementation and to facilitate quality assurance and value for money.

Accenture had recruited a team of international experts from the UK, USA, Spain, Portugal, South Africa and other countries numbering about 22 people that were paid fees ranging from P18 000 to P36 000 a day ($2,400-4,800) each.

Dubbed the National Programme Implementation Coordination (NPIC), the project required local presence with a clearly defined citizen empowerment component. The system was projected to go live on January 2, 2010. Under the contract, Accenture was required to: Design the framework for implementation and coordination of policy related programmes and projects; design a monitoring and evaluation strategy and model; design and implement a programme management office; and design and implement an effective project management system – software application. They were also expected to implement a system for trouble-shooting and training. The company was also expected to draw up a strategy for the coordination of government programmes; conduct a detailed review of the current ICT systems used by government in issues related to projects; as well as advise on the best way to ensure systems' ability to link with one another; as well as review reporting formats in government. The project would link together government programmes within parastatals, NGOs, government departments and the private sector.

It is understood that last year GICO told the Public Procurement & Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) that the consultants had advised a change in the scope of the project – a second phase – to provide an alternative geographical information system (GIS) solution and office accommodation for the consultants, at additional cost. PPADB was given the impression that Accenture would be allowed to execute this second phase also without it going through a competitive bid on the grounds that the Company had demonstrated knowledge and expertise of the subject.

The Gazette learnt that recently GICO’s new management decided not to continue with the roll out of the project and cancelled the contract; the reasons for cancellation have not been published but it is rumored that GICO was worried about the escalating cost of the project. According to information received by The Gazette one other bone of contention when the project was initially advertised was that potential applicants were let in on the budget for the project – P55 million, excluding contingencies. It is understood that some government officials queried that the tender guided potential bidders on the money that was available for the project. The winning tender quoted just under P55 million.

via The Botswana Gazette on 20 May 2010, reported on Affiliated Network for Social Accountability (ANSA-Africa).