Moroccan IT Vendor Hopeful to Bag CBE’s Lucrative Contract
By MAHLET MESFIN
Amid complaints on the bidding process, a Moroccan based information technology (IT) vendor, M2M Group, is poised to bag what is now the largest supply contract ordered by the state owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE). The company has offered the lowest offer of eight million dollars to supply 420 units of Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and 37 million Br for 4,000 point of sales (POS) machines.
Founded in 1990, M2M is locally represented by MUTI Engineering and has been shortlisted on its technical offer along with two international IT vendors, although seven have entered into the bid. The Indian CopyCat, which has offered 8.8 million dollars, and CBM, with 9.8 million dollars, had made it to the shortlist.
Nonetheless, M2M was one of the two bidders made it to the shortlist during the technical evaluation for the POS, from a total of five bidders. It was up against the local company, SCC, after both were found qualified in their technical proposals.
Although much of the evaluation process has been finalized, CBE’s management under Bekalu Zeleke is yet to issue letters of award to the selected IT vendor. Its senior managers were in Gondar town, 658Km north-west of Addis Abeba, evaluating the third quarter performance of the bank. Ephrem Mekuria, head of the CBE procurement department, declined to comment for the selection process is confidential until contract is awarded.
However, some of the bidders have filed their complaints to the CBE, alleging that the price offered by M2M do not include VAT, sources close to the process disclosed to Fortune.
Despite these complaints, if M2M manages to bag the contracts, it will be the second in a row for the company to supply ATMs to the CBE, which aspires to reclaim the lead in the IT front. Out of 58 ATMs CBE currently operates, around 50 were supplied by M2M. Nonetheless, the qualities of the machines were questioned at the time of delivery, for some alleged it was a refurbished used machines.
“It was a baseless allegation,” a senior manager of the company told Fortune. “We provided the best technology.”
Of the new ATMs CBE is in the process of acquiring, 288 are Lobby ATMs and 22 are touch screens, while 50 units will be designated to serve in foreign exchange. The bank, which has recently expanded its branch network to 526, plans to install the machines across the country where Ethio Telcom services are available, hoping to boost its aggressive drive for deposit mobilization.
It has a total deposit of 86.5 billion Br at the end of 2010/11, which is double the amount collected by all private banks during the same period.
(SOURCE: FORTUNE NEWSPAPER)