Botswana: Driver Testing System Gobbles P29 Million

13 January 2020

Transport and Communications Minister Thulagano Segokgo has recently told parliament that government has paid whooping P 29 million to Neo Information Systems Co.Ltd (NIS), a South Korean Company that was given tender of Maruapula Intelligent Driver Testing System (IDTS).

Segokgo made the revelations whilst responding to a question by Gaborone Bonnington South Member of Parliament, Christian Greeff who had asked the minister the initial budget set for the Intelligent Driver Testing System and how much was paid after completion of the tender.

Responding, Segokgo insisted that the initial budget proposed for the system was US$ 1,863 555.70 which is equivalent to P 18, 635 557.0 adding that extra costs were incurred later on.

"Following some variations and change in the project scope an amount of US$ 2, 934,606.35 (P 29 346 063.50) was paid as total amount on completion of the project in 2017," Segokgo added.

He said the system was premised from the fact that corruption was rampant in the industry hence the ministry leveraged on technology to reduce rot in issuance of driver's license too.

The tender according to minister was only a direct appointment of South Korean called Neo Information System, which is sole proprietor of the IDTS technology hence awarded tender.

Asked on whether the multimillion pula system is fully operational, Transport minister indicated that there is still disinclination to use the facility by the industry for various reasons recognised.

"The IDTS is fully operational and because of the transition candidates are familiarized with the testing facility before taking the actual test from Monday to Thursday. On average the facility tests 77 against its full potential of 120 per day compared to 300 tested manually, "he averred.

He wailed that due to surge of traffic in Gaborone roads it takes more time for a candidate to complete the road test cycle than previously adding that to address this challenge, the ministry through Department of Road Transport and Safety has identified routes along Tsholofelo area.

Minister told parliament that the IDTS need a minimum of six (6) officers to manage, and were trained on the job by the contractor in compliance with the skill transfer clause of the contract.

In 2018 IDTS faced resistance from the Association of Driver Training School by petitioning the ministry over the system complaining that the centre is different from how they were trained.

Another complaint by the association was that their learners are expected to use vehicles belonging to the government, which is not good because they have to pay them if damaged.

Similarly, Francistown West Member of Parliament Ignatius Moswaane has suggested to the minister of transport to ensure that government vehicles are being insured in case of accidents.

Moswaane has been concerned that some of drivers of government vehicles that were involved in accidents carry the burden of paying heavy sums of money to government to fix the vehicles.

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