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More changes to IFMS tender

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The State IT Agency (SITA) has re-issued its tender for National Treasury's Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), incorporating several changes to the specifications.

This is the second time the agency has had to revisit the tender's specifications and extend the deadline for submissions.

SITA explains the changes are due to complaints from interested bidders. "As such, the specifications have been amended."

Launched in 2005, the IFMS project aimed to secure an integrated solution for national government, incorporating supply chain management, financial management, HR management, payroll, inventory and business intelligence.

After a decade and an outlay exceeding R1.2 billion, government abandoned its strategy to procure a bespoke system and decided to pursue a commercial-off-the-shelf solution. In 2016, National Treasury announced Oracle had been awarded the contract.

Experience over specialisation

The latest tender, RFB 1859-2018, is aimed at establishing a panel of Oracle partners for the implementation of IFMS. This tender was first issued in December last year, with a deadline of 30 January. In February, however, SITA extended the deadline to 4 March as changes to the specifications had to be made following industry complaints.

Citing the same reasons, the agency has re-issued the tender with revised specifications and an advertised deadline of 19 April.

The new tender documents feature several material changes, including altering "specialised Oracle partners" to "Oracle-experienced service providers".

Under mandatory requirements, the document no longer expects bidders to be registered Oracle partners or provide certificates of specialisation. Instead, the new iteration states bidders must have access to individual/s with a minimum of one year experience in the Oracle services indicated. This must be backed up with CVs and reference details for confirmation.

Bye-bye BEE

More important to hopeful bidders is the removal of targeted SMME services and a B-BBEE status from the evaluation process.

The previous iterations of the tender attracted many queries regarding these two stages, as the nature of the tender does not facilitate the use of sub-contractors or the creation of consortiums and joint ventures.

"Given the diversity of technology, functionality and provincial locations that the tender has in scope, it seems difficult at this early stage to identify and contract with all possible subcontracting partners (especially exempted micro enterprises or qualifying small enterprises)," noted one enquiry.

In response, SITA said it was still premature for partners to secure sub-contractors and form consortiums and joint ventures.

"Oracle partners are advised to respond individually to the panel. It is expected that the partners will form consortiums, subcontractors and JVs [joint ventures] with the partners who are part of the Oracle panel. [This] will be relevant when we issue a request for quotation to the panel," it explained.

Nevertheless, that kind of inner-industry contracting is prevalent in bids for government contracts. This is not only to fill any skill gaps but to meet the public sector's preferential procurement regulations. Without these agreements, industry players remained concerned that the resulting panel might exclude service providers that would under normal circumstances feature.

While targeted SMME services no longer feature in the bid documentation, B-BBEE status is still mentioned but is preceded by a caveat: "The following requirements do not exclude bidders that have no B-BBEE status."

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