Online procurement system for East Africa goes live
By Omondi Julius Odera
Kenyan IT start-up M-Tenders Systems has created East Africa’s first live online procurement system, www.m-tenders.com, seeking to fully automate the tendering processes for all private and public companies operating in the region.
According to M-Tenders Systems lead developer and co-founder Mr. Dennis Rwito, the development of the online tender application system gives a chance to thousands of entrepreneurs and companies that have previously been locked out of traditional tendering processes.
“The current tendering processes employed by over 90percent of the private and public companies involve a lot of manual work which makes it tedious and inaccessible to many,” said Rwito.
He, further added, that gone are the days when someone had to travel all the way to Nairobi or other urban centres to drop tender documents in boxes. “It is archaic and should not be the norm in this 21st century. IT solutions are available and a potential supplier should be able to apply for a tender from as remote as Mandera as long as they have internet access and not incur costs of travel. And as such we are proud to be able to launch this innovative system," explained Rwito.
M-Tender Systems co-founder Rodgers Ndung’u, observed that though the benefits of the digital era are celebrated in all sectors and departments in organizations, it’s the procurement processes that have continued to lag behind.
“This is because the tendering processes in most of these companies comprise complex paper work which discourages many potential applicants barred by limited time and manpower resources,” said Ndung’u.
Mr. Rwito, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems & Technology, Computer Applications major from United State International University, observes that the new system was as result of a three months long research he has been conducting on best ways to ensure transparency and accountability in procurement processes for both private and public organization.
“I have in numerous occasions tendered for services and never known whether my applications were received or why they were rejected,” explained Mr. Rwito adding on that www.m-tenders.com will tell how many companies have been shortlisted for each service enlisted by the company owning the tender.
Apart from eliminating the huge paper work that characterise tendering process, the m-tenders.com system will also allow firms to pay the tender application fees via online payment platform that include Mpesa, VISA, Paypal, MasterCard and other payment modes.
“Over one hundred private companies have applied to use the system in tendering while about fifty others have registered as suppliers. Our first client has so far received over 200 applications through the system two weeks ahead the tender closing date,” said Ndung’u.
All tendering companies can post their tender forms on www.m-tenders.com system by first creating an account on the website or can contact the M-Tenders System team for guidance.
“We currently have more than 45 tender categories ranging from the supply of Public Relations, legal and advertising services, supply of furniture, Motorcycles, Provision of car hire services, General building contractors & renovators and many more which suppliers can visit the website and apply for,” explained Rwito.