Minister called to explain ICT projects fail rate

National 2 minutes, 12 seconds


THE Communications Minister yesterday was called to explain to the State Legislative Council (LegCo) why so many government-tendered information-technology (ICT) projects in the past had failed and what action the ministry had taken to curb the fail rate.

LegCo member Dato Paduka Hj Idris Hj Abas pointed out, "In 2005, out of 40 ICT projects tendered out, only 16 projects were carried out.

"In 2006, only four out of 12 projects that were tendered out were carried out."

Although admitting the fail rate had fallen, he added that no ICT projects were tendered out in 2007, with only two and five ICT projects put to tender in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

In response, Communications Minister Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Hj Abu Bakar Hj Apong said, "What happened before 2007 was that the tender for each project was issued by respective ministries and departments."

He explained that a commission established in 2006 to examine the progress of e-government projects results discovered that the respective ministries implementation of e-government projects ended up creating "information silos", whereby although ministries had rolled out e-government projects, there was no coordination through ICT between the ministries.

As a result the E-Government Technical Authority Body was established, Pehin Dato Dr Hj Abu Bakar added.

"The E-Government Technical Authority Body coordinated the technical aspects of the ICT projects forwarded to the respective ministries," he explained.

"If there are any delays in the issuance of tenders, it is because the tenders are examined by the E-Government Technical Authority Body," he added.

Explaining the positive action taken to redress the problem, Pehin Dato Hj Abu Bakar said, "The government recently approved an initiative called 'ICT companies recognition', which means only accredited ICT companies will be able to participate in government tenders.

"This is to ensure that the companies are capable both financially and in competence to implement the projects," he said.

The minister added that the government had approved an ICT policy directive, aimed at expanding Brunei's ICT industry.

He explained that the directive revolves around four policy directions, the first being giving priority to accredited ICT companies to participate in government IT projects.

The policy also prioritises development of "Made in Brunei" products or components.

It also intended to encourage outsourcing selected government projects under Public Private Partnership (PPPs) and for multinational companies to play the role of mentors in local joint-venture companies as a prerequisite for being awarded an ICT government tender.

The policies are hoped to help the development of ICT small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Brunei, he added.

The Brunei Times