Illustration by kchungtw/DepositPhotos
The Telecommunications Company of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) and The National Information and Communication Technology Company (iGovTT), on February 2, signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly market and promote the adoption of TSTT’s e-Tender Software as a Service (SaaS) procurement portal by 22 Ministries, 119 Companies and 135 Statutory Bodies.
The MOU will now allow iGovTT to support local innovation, given the e-Tender SaaS is the only fully locally developed and owned procurement SaaS of its kind. Additionally, it will provide a unique opportunity for IGovTT to ensure valuable foreign exchange is kept at home, as payment for e-Tender is in TT dollars, with no remittance to overseas, unlike other software providers.
The signing is timely and significant as it comes on the heels of the recent appointment of a Procurement Board, sworn in by President Anthony Carmona, to oversee public procurement regulation. The Board has since been hailed as a step in the right direction by the local business community.
Speaking at the event, held the HYATT Regency, Port-of-Spain, Minister of Public Utilities, Robert Le Hunte, said the portal will be used for soliciting potential vendors for an array of government projects and provide an unprecedented level of transparency in the bidding process.
“This website was created locally by TSTT but bears all of the hallmarks of an internationally renowned vendor portal and is going to bring greater efficiency and openness to the tendering process in Trinidad and Tobago.
“A veil has been lifted on some of the challenges that would have been a deterrent to doing business with the government for many in the private sector. The ease of becoming a part of the process should encourage the widest possible participation of vendors so that the government, and by extension citizens, will reap the benefits of a transparent, equitable and more competitive tendering process.”
Chief Executive Officer, TSTT, Ronald Walcott, stated that the company has always been an avid champion of empowering local business and entrepreneurship and stimulating economic growth in T&T.
“I also want to cast this TSTT / iGovTT partnership in the context of TSTT as the national telecom provider adapting its growth strategy in a way that synergistically supports overall national development.”
“Additionally, the E-Tender service builds Trinidad and Tobago’s global competitiveness not just because of the enabling technology and security to support participants from all over the world, but reputation-wise it speaks volumes for the country to be embracing a world class procurement tool using technology people expect to find only in more developed countries.”
And according to Chairman of TSTT Tenders Committee, Gerry Brooks, TSTT is breaking the traditional state enterprise paradigm by providing a boarder suite of products outside the previous traditional mould.
“This is a potential game changer in public sector procurement and supply chain management, particularly in the context of the new procurement legislation.”
Echoing similar sentiments was Chairman of iGovTT, Esther Le Gendre, who stated that the MOU was one of several through which iGovTT is leveraging Information and Communications Technology to improve the delivery and efficiency of Government services. “This initiative supports iGovTT’s responsibility for implementing Government’s enterprise-wide ICT strategies and programmes.”
The event was attended by business representatives and several senior ministry personnel, including Permanent Secretaries, as well as other key stakeholders in local procurement, who were given a virtual tour by TSTT’s Keino Cox, Senior Manager Supply Chain, TSTT, on how the new e-Tender Software can make procurement practices more efficient and effective for local businesses and entrepreneurs.