MRA under fire for awarding contract to foreign company

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Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has come under fire from Malawians over its intention to award a US$1 million (about K816 million) Microsoft licenses contract to a company based in Botswana.

According to a notice dated 14 May, MRA intends to award a contract for ‘Microsoft Licenses and Support for three years’ to Dimension Data (Botswana) Pvt Company.

The tax collector has advised bidders requiring a debriefing session to write the authority within 14 days after which MRA will proceed to award the contract to Dimension Data.

On Twitter, Malawians have expressed concern over the awarding of the tender to a foreign company, especially at a time when government has been talking about the need to promote local businesses.

“Just yesterday we discussed this. Government and its arms not trusting Malawians for huge contracts. I mean, what the heck? Microsoft Licenses? We don’t have companies in Malawi who can do this? #TechMalawi @BramNE,” @joelfickson tweeted.

“We joke too much. Like serious… all the taxes imposed on IT companies in Malawi,,,,, then boom the contract goes to a foreign tech company. How do they empower Malawian companies then,” said another Twitter user?

Others have argued that the services MRA intends to spend forex on can be provided by its in-house information technology department.

@Tafika_1 said: “this is ridiculous and beyond comprehension. for $1mil worth of volume licences Microsoft will assign you an accounts manager and all this can be done by their IT department, with that budget they could even create a position for this and still save on forex.”

While @NissiKazembe tweeted: “Like how bad of an IT support company do you have to be not to handle such basics? You would probably not be in business anymore in all honesty.”

Bram Fudzulani who is chairperson of ICT association of Malawi said in response that his organisation will take up the issue with authorities.

“We’re writing PPDA, attorney general and MRA on this matter— we’re simply seeking justification as to why a foreign company was given this deal over our local companies,” he tweeted.

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