Minister of Transport, Communications, Works and Supply Yamfwa Mukanga has been challenged to explain to Zambians why his ministry has gone ahead to procure a new E-Zambia Transport Information System (e-Zam-TIS) system costing US$ 36 million for the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) when the current one in use only needs upgrading.
The challenge is from National Revolution Party (NRP) president Cosmo Mumba who held a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday.
“Our concern is not the amount of money to be spent but the prudent manner in which the money should be spent. We feel that the ministry, the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) and RTSA have not told the nation what was happening with the current Zam-TIS system.
“Did the Ministry of Transport, Communications, Works and Supply and RTSA take time to summon the current system developer to ascertain the system’s performance in order to accommodate the needs of the Agency by upgrading it?
Dr Mumba appealed to RTSA and the Ministry of works to be mindful that government procured the current system at a huge cost to the nation and that allowing a purchase of another new system when the current one could be upgraded was being wasteful.
He said RTSA, the Ministry of Works and ZPPA should have reverted to the recommendations made in 2009 by the RTSA board which directed management to upgrade the current e-Zam-TIS so as to deal with the errors and incorporate some of the needs of the Agency and not purchase a new system.
“It is my challenge to the Minister, Hon. Yamfwa Mukanga to tell the nation and prove beyond any reasonable doubt why the current Zam-TIS should be gotten rid of when there is a provision of upgrading it to accommodate the current needs of the Agency.
He said Mr Mukanga should explain to the people of Zambia whether he took time to call the developer of the current Zam-TIS to advise on the status before going ahead with tendering a system that would cost the tax payer, huge sums of money.
Dr Mumba said the then Minister Christopher Yaluma allegedly cancelled the tender because it was allegedly mishandled and that the current system was still in use for the production of Licences and other RTSA requirements.
Dr. Mumba alleged that the procurement of the new Zam-TIS was fraught with manipulative, collusive and obstructive practices which could have been aimed at achieving improper purposes hence the process was not credible.
He further said RTSA, the Ministry and ZPPA should have heeded the advice from ACC that the procurement would be against public interest and certainly against RTSA commercial interest.
“It is our view that President Michael Sata should seriously look into the affairs of ZPPA and possibly overhaul the institution because we now believe that ZPPA has become a centre of attraction over the procurement of the Zam-TIS.
“We also appeal to the President to intervene and use his discretionary powers and re-call the developer to come back and assess the system,” said Dr. Mumba.