Questions on the electronic
AVAILABLE. Promoting local software development companies can’t
just be done by attracting overseas contractual jobs here. Local
government units (LGUs) should do their part to ensure that the
opportunities they bid out will also be made available to small
and medium enterprises (SMEs).
LGUs have been issuing invitation to apply for eligibility and
to bid for various automation and computerization programs.
These projects are multi-million in nature. As a result, Cebu
Software Association president Mike Jurado believes, “Selected
Manila-based IT companies and institutions end up having
exclusive access to billions of e-government related projects
and hardly any will trickle down to the already helpless local
software development industries.”
The Procurement Law states “Prospective bidders should have
experience in undertaking a similar project within the last two
years with an amount of at least 50 percent of the proposed
project for bidding...” To get a P30-million project, one must
have completed a P15-million project during the last two years.
“How many from information technology (IT) SMEs from Aparri to
Jolo have done so? Answer: zero, Jurado emphasized.
Yesterday morning, the Congressional Oversight Committee for the
E-Commerce Law met again and tackled the electronic procurement
system. Before ending the meeting, the position paper of the
Cebu Software Association on this matter was forwarded to the
Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Commission on Audit
and National Computer Center for study.
The good thing is DBM already advised that new rules are being
drafted so that the qualification criteria will no longer be
limited to “experience in undertaking a similar project” based
on an amount value. It will eventually accept other factors,
such as years of existence, number of projects handled, thereby
eliminating value of projects previously handled as a sole
basis. Once there’s a clear position on this, I shall write
about it here.
However, what LGUs can do is break up their IT projects into
components, separating hardware and software, making it
accessible for SMEs to qualify. Furthermore, LGUs may also
consider partially separating software application scoping and
design, testing, coding and implementation, software quality
assurance, documentation, among others, in order to ensure that
there’s check and balance in the process, increasing their
chances of success.
Let us be cautious with our IT projects and prioritize our local
players, as they partner with providers in other areas, such as
Manila. They are the ones who provide employment, support the
business community, perform philanthropic and human resource
development work and pay local taxes. Else, all these advocacies
will just turn out to be lip service where action contradicts
oneself. National and LGUs can take the position to outsource
certain percentage of their projects to competitive SMEs and
even go down the level of considering women-owned businesses and
persons with disabilities. In the end, this is all about trade
empowerment that the government is in the position to initiate.
Meanwhile, Hybridigm Consulting is calling all biotechnology
scientists to share their ideas in the 2 nd Philippine
Biotechnology Venture Summit on Jan. 17 to 20, 2006 at United
Laboratories Bayanihan Hall. Twelve slots are available for
existing or aspiring biotech entrepreneurs to share their
business ideas, to persuade potential investors and obtain
funding. Interested parties can email [email protected]
Deadline for submission is on Dec. 1.
By Janette Toral