Independent NGO watchdog Fair Play Alliance (AFP) is calling on the government not to sign a lucrative EUR 52 million contract with Microsoft until several discrepancies have been clarified.
On its website the AFP points to how the government is ready to extend its software contract with Microsoft by an additional three years without a public tender, a market analysis on other alternatives and without explaining a justification of the number of licences being ordered. Despite a drop in the number of civil servants, over 25,000 more licences will be purchased this time compared to the previous contract from 2009, chiefly because the contract has been prepared with a clause that allows only an increase in the number of licences.
According to the watchdog, many of the licences are being procured pointlessly as they will not even be used, citing the example of how all 1,671 computers at the Attorney General’s Office have software programmes like Microsoft Access installed and paid for, while only being used by an estimated 63% of the staff. No analysis has been done to determine the true number of licences required for each piece of software, which means scope for huge wasting of public funds.
The AFP is also not happy about how the contract is being pushed through in abridged proceedings at the last minute, instead of preparing sufficiently in advance for the contract’s expiry date, which is at the end of this month.