Foreign advisor forces Malawian workshops to pay Malawi’s state motor transport system MalTIS | Malawi Nyasa Times
What was raised with great concern at a stakeholder consultation meeting on March 8, 2016 at the Ministry of Transport as a conflict of interest in the outsourcing of vehicle inspection services, has now occurred when local workshops pay for access to the Malawi Traffic Information System (MalTIS).
The information available to us suggests that the connection to the system is billed to the car workshops, as the consultants who built it, Movesa & Fischer Consulting, are still sticking to it.
But as early as 2016, during a consultation for Auto Tech, a Lilongwe workshop that belongs to Movesa, red flags were hoisted over the consultants Motor Vehicle Spares and Accessories (Movesa) in Malawi and Fischer Consulting from South Africa.
A number of concerns about Autotech were raised at the 2016 meeting, as the minutes indicate that one of the licensed workshops believed those involved firmly believed that a conflict of interest should be issued on the part of Auto Tech License to operate as a vehicle inspection workshop, as the company’s owners also own Movesa.
Movesa was the only company that imported license plates at the time and also worked with Fischer Consulting in the MalTIS system.
However, when the owner of Movesa, Moshin Salim, was contacted in June this year, he distanced his company from the MalTIS system, saying that the logistics partnership he had with the Fischer consortium ended last year.
In response to our inquiries in June, however, Andrew Mthiko, spokesman for the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, repeatedly referred to Movesa and the Fischer consortium as advisors – who are sticking to the system after failing to meet them for a period of three deadlines three years to hand over the MalTIS to the Malawian government.
However, at this consultation meeting in 2016, in which Mthiko participated, the workshops involved expressed their concern that they were creating a conflict of interest on the part of Movesa as a workshop hired as an outsourced vehicle inspection body.
During the meeting, the Directorate of Road and Safety Services (DRTSS) presented the goal and progress of the vehicle inspection outsourcing, which included the requirements to become a vehicle inspection body; legal obligation to register a vehicle inspection and list of workshops that have expressed interest.
During the talks, as the Minutes show, the workshops involved indicated that they were reluctant to invest so much in vehicle test equipment until they received an assurance or promise that they would be approved if they met all the requirements.
They also wanted government protection on the number of lanes licensed for each garage; Number of approved garages and an incentive in the form of a tax exemption. This should ensure that you can get the return on your investment back.
According to the protocol, the workshops were skeptical on the part of Auto Tech as an outsourced service provider due to conflicts of interest, as it was owned by Movesa, which at the time was also part of a consortium with Fischer that was upgrading the MalTIs system.
The meeting believed that Auto Tech would deliberately sabotage their connectivity to MalTIs in order to increase competition from the rest.
This seems to be happening, as sources from the licensed outsourced workshops indicate that Movesa & Fischer Consulting charges the other licensed workshops for the connection to the MalTIs system – which should be free as soon as the workshops meet the requirements for their licenses.
A privy to the matter source who declined to be mentioned said huge sums of money are required to meet operating license requirements, but it is quite “disheartening that the government is disapproving of the foreign builders of the system Ransom is extorted ”.
“After we have met all the requirements that require enormous sums of money, why do we still have to pay to access the government system at a high cost?” Asked our source.
“It is very confusing that the government does not control this regulation because the consultants are still sticking to the system and dictating to the workshops concerned.”
The 2016 consultation session was also surprised that Auto Tech was at an advanced stage of investing large sums of money in issuing licenses and was suspected of having inside information about the granting of those licenses.
Despite several reminders when contacted after June 23, Mthiko, spokesman for the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, never responded to the questions raised by stakeholders three years later.
We wanted to know why Auto Tech was licensed to operate as a vehicle inspection facility when the company’s owners also own Movesa, and why a licensed workshop that automatically connects to the MalTIS system is billed by Movesa and Fischer Consulting will.
Mthiko was also asked to respond to what is so special about Movesa and Auto Tech that the government is so lenient towards these two companies.
In July, the county vice president Saulos Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Public Sector Reforms, instructed DRTSS to repair the MalTIS system to reduce congestion.
He made the statement after meeting the Minister of Transport and Public Works and his management team to motivate them through what he said on his Facebook wall and get approval of the public sector reforms .
He had said it was disappointing to find that the quick wins that had been achieved in the directorate had declined and said that this had almost cleared the congestion.
“I have since begged DRTSS to ensure that the system handover from the consultant to the department is accelerated and completed by September 2020,” he said at the time.
He also said that he had asked the department to prioritize setting up a dedicated vehicle inspection service point for trucks and buses to ensure that the revenue from that service doesn’t fall through the cracks.
“It is the goal of this government that the sources of income must be efficient in order to develop this country”, Chilima is quoted as saying, welcomes a proposal to decentralize the transport sector and is ready to support concrete plans.
DRTSS is said to be solely responsible for authorizing MalTIs system connectivity as it is state owned.
Movesa & Fischer Consulting was initially given a deadline for handing over the system in January 2018, and when this was not met, a new deadline of June 2019 was set in January of the same year.
In November last year, Mthiko told the media that “the development, testing and handover of the modules, as agreed in the contract between the ministry and Movesa & Fischer Consulting, were steps towards handing over the management of the system by the end of the year”.
But eight months later, Mthiko still said the handover process was still in progress and said the “upgrade of the MalTIS was implemented in modular format”.
“As far as we have seen the successful completion and delivery of some modules in MalTIS as agreed in the contract, the consultant has not yet completed the update of other modules and some operational errors still persist.
“The source code, firewall, database and help desk management of the system were not given to the Ministry of Transport and Public Works,” Mthiko had said in an earlier interview.
In a media report from last November, the then DRTSS director Fergus Gondwe told The Nation newspaper that the Fischer Consulting government still owed a payment, but did not reveal how much.
This was confirmed by Mthiko that the ministry “did not complete the payments to the consultant until the outstanding modules and system errors are fixed”.
It was also reported that Movesa & Fischer Consulting should facilitate the skill transfer of the MalTIS system, and when asked if this was done, Mthiko confirmed that the contract requires the consultant to provide a full skills transfer program that includes both the required operational as well as technical support includes managing the system.
“The transfer of skills to ICT officers in the ministry was partially completed and inconclusive. The incomplete element of competence transfer is one of the outstanding areas that the ministry is waiting for the advisor after the handover for effective management of the system. “
He stated that Movesa and the South African fishing consortium are a joint venture between the two companies.
When asked how the MalTIS system was implemented in Malawi and whether there was a proper tendering process to identify the consultant for the creation of the system, Mthiko said that “all competitive procurement processes were followed” and that the ministry “set conditions, which formed a basis for the vocation ”. for expression of interest for interested companies “.
“Interested companies submitted technical and financial proposals which were examined by the internal procurement committee, and a successful bidder was offered a contract to update the MalTIS.
“A call for expressions of interest has been announced in the national media and all procurement processes have been reviewed by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA).”
Reports we get say the Movesa company is from Mozambique, but the owner, Moshin Salim, said his company is 100% Malawian-owned and has distanced himself from the delays at MalTIS.
Not long ago, Malawian companies were not pleased with Movesa’s monopoly on the government’s deal to mint license plates.
While Mthiko did not confirm reports that Movesa is a Mozambican company, it said there are currently more license plate stamping companies and government agencies in the country.
“There are currently two licensed importers of blank license plates, and the DRTSS launched a media call in April 2021 for applicants to offer this service, and” the response so far has been very good, “he said.
He added that the licenses of such firms are granted by the Directorate of Road Traffic and Security Services (DRTSS) under the Road Traffic Act 1997 to import blank license plates and also license license plate makers registered in Malawi.
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