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Thursday, November 09, 2006

FG begins certification of CANi PCs

The federal government has began certification of branded Personal Computers (PCs) for the Computer for All Nigerians Initiative (CANi) through the office of the Project Management Office (PMO) in the Presidency.

Programme Director for CANi, Mr. Soji Romeo, disclosed this and said that for a state, the initial 14,500 computers ordered by the government for civil servants would be the first set of PCs to undergo certifications.

He also said that the certification exercise is to ensure that the computers meet the required standards on quality while the configuration of the PCs match what has been ordered, in addition to ensuring integrity for all installed software is maintained.

He noted that the contracts for the production of the 14,500 CANi-branded PCs was given last August to two local Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) at the cost of N1.27 billion (US$10 million equivalent).

He explained that in the contracts made possible courtesy of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), each beneficiary of the PCs would enjoy a subsidy of N20, 000 of the actual cost.

He also clarified that the certification was part of the PMO’s oversight functions, as contained in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology contract offer letters, dated August 31, 2006.

This, Mr. Romeo, said clearly mandated PMO office, in conjunction with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), to carry out a certification exercise before the delivery of the computers.

He further the mandate included coordinating the scheme, monitoring delivery, handling and enforcing strict conformity to the approved contents (operating system, office suite, anti-virus) and other specifications as well as ensuring that suppliers provide the expected warranty.

“The idea here is to protect the ordinary Nigerian end-users by ensuring independent validation of the product they are buying.

The ministry has instructed the PMO that each of the 14,500 computers must be checked, and we intend to discharge this responsibility to the best of our ability.

We look forward to commencing the checks as soon as on-going arrangements are complete,” he said.

Stressing that it is a well-thought out social programme that would boost penetration of qualitative and affordable personal computers and laptops for use at homes.

“500,000 PCs are targeted for distribution in the first two years of the scheme,” he declared.

The initiative was launched on July 6, 2006 by President Olusegun Obasanjo, is a government-assisted personal computer ownership scheme targeted at employees in the public and private sectors, to purchase quality computers at discounted prices under affordable and convenient repayment plan that spans 24 months through direct salary deductions from source.

A public private partnership (PPP) scheme, CANi is promoted by the Federal Government in partnership with Microsoft Corporation and Intel Corporation, the two giants in Information Communication Technology (ICT), as sponsors.

The scheme is coordinated by AMB Multiserve, which serves as the PMO while CANi partners include the Original Equipment Manufactures (OEMs), which comprise Beta Computers (Speedstar), Brian, Omatek, and Zinox, while HP and IBM are the foreign distributors.

The financing partners include Skye Bank, Fidelity Bank and UBA, while the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are Suburban and Netcomm. Other partners are Pallet, anti-virus software providers; as well as ICDL who are providing the training software.

To ensure hitch-free execution of orders for supply and facilitate direct collection by the benefiting civil servants, Zinox and Omatek are providing warehouses in Abuja where the PCs and laptops will be stored for subsequent assessment and certification by PMO/NITDA and PTDF.

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