Local May 8, 2023 | 8:13 am

More than 280,000 devices purchased from UNDP remain in a warehouse

Santo Domingo.- The Warehouse of the Digital Transformation Cabinet for the Technological Equipment of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) under the Ministry of Education (Minerd) contains 281,417 laptops, netbooks, and tablets as of March 31, 2023. These devices were purchased through an international tender conducted at the end of 2020 for the purchase of 800,000 devices to be used in distance education. The total value of these devices and other electronic components stored in the warehouse is 4,120,015,820.69 pesos. The inventory of the Minerd warehouse for the first quarter of 2023 also includes additional electronic components such as headphones, screen protectors, tablet pens, access points, covers, school servers, carts, touch screens, and televisions.

During the pandemic, Minerd invested approximately 19,000,000,000 pesos to purchase laptops, tablets, netbooks, and other devices and accessories for students and teachers. This investment was made through two bidding processes, one with local suppliers and another with UNDP. The bidding process conducted with UNDP was questioned due to payment issues for 159,371,694 dollars, of which 64% was used for the agency to make an international tender to buy 800,000 tablets. The Urgent Exception process for the Acquisition of Technological Devices for the Execution of the National Plan “Education for all preserving health” was used by the Ministry to acquire 752,000 netbooks, laptops, and tablets with an investment of about 10,000,000.00 million pesos. However, this process was challenged before the General Directorate of Public Contracts by various suppliers who felt harmed by the award.

In September and October 2020, the UNDP resident representative in the country and the then Minister of Education signed two agreements with which the United Nations entity promised to accompany Minerd in the implementation of the National Education Plan 2020-2021 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first agreement spanned almost 16 months and included UNDP accompanying the logistical management of the technological equipment acquired by Minerd to expand distance education. It was signed for 57,012,896.55 dollars and an amendment raised it to 74.6 million dollars. The second project, with a duration of 14 months, stipulated 159,371,694 dollars to facilitate the access of the public system to information and communication technology tools. This amount was paid in full by the Government.

The devices purchased through UNDP were bought from two companies in Denmark: Danoffice IT and Atea A/S. The first bought 330,000 tablets for $51,031,199, and the second bought 470,000 for $85,676,600. Transactions included delivery in Santo Domingo, warranty, and technical support. According to the inventory of the Minerd Digital Transformation Cabinet Warehouse, there are 68,832 laptops, netbooks, and tablets purchased from local suppliers, as well as 2,100 laptops that were donated to the institution by the Central Electoral Board, 9,202 access points, 1,286 UPS, 2,975 mouse, and other devices. From 2020 to December 2022, 1,552,000 laptops, netbooks, and tablets were delivered to teachers and students of the public education system. During the ceremony to kick off the 2022-2023 school year, President Luis Abinader and the Minister of Education delivered the two millionth electronic device. From that moment on, delivery operations have continued in schools, high schools, and polytechnics.

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May 8, 2023 9:37 am

Political waste on a grand scale!

Paul Tierney
May 8, 2023 9:59 am

Speed up the deliveries! Wonder how many astray devices are in homes not where they are intended?