TANZANIA - Ministry On The Spot Over Y2K Compliance of Computers

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

[Fair use for education and research purpose only]

Title: Tanzania Ministry On The Spot Over Computers

Story Filed: Thursday, May 11, 2000 4:43 PM EST

Dar-es-Salaam (The East African, May 11, 2000) - Computer experts in Tanzania have expressed doubts about the Y2K compliance and usefulness of 930 second-hand computers imported by the government at a cost of $276,900.

The first consignment of 700 computers, intended for teaching purposes in public secondary schools, are in a warehouse in the capital, while a container with the remaining 230 is awaiting clearance at Dar es Salaam port. The Olivetti computers, with Intel 486 chips, 100mhz speed, 16 megabytes of RAM and 212 megabyte hard disks, were supplied following a contract signed between M/S Commodities, Finance and Consulting Ltd (CFC) and the Commissioner for Education, Mr. Alexander Ndeki, in May 1999. CFC was incorporated in March, 1999.

Experts in Dar es Salaam fear the computers may not match current technology and may be unsuitable for Internet use, which is why they are being phased out in developing countries.

The managing director of CFC Ltd, Mr. Bent Claudi, told The EastAfrican:

"These computers are three to four years old, but I think they will help students grasp computer knowledge. They are Y2K compliant."

Mr. Claudi added: "You know Tanzania is a poor country. A recent UN report shows that the gap between developed and developing countries has been accelerated by lack of information technology. My company is helping Tanzania to reduce that gap."

However, he could not produce a manufacturer's certificate affirming that the machines were Y2K compliant, explaining that in his native Denmark, where CFC procured the computers, there was no need to secure such certificates, as the pieces were purchased on the open market. Although Mr. Claudi declined to state the cost of the 700 pieces already supplied, he said the lot now at Dar es Salaam port was worth about $ 69,000, working out at $300 apiece.

The street value of Y2K compliant second-hand computers is Tsh250,000 to Tsh300,000 ($312 to $375) including tax. Mr. Claudi said CFC did not pay tax for the 700 computers already supplied to the Ministry. Industry sources said that at the prices quoted by CFC, which is said to be owned jointly with some prominent Tanzanians, the ministry could have bought brand new machines.

A computer expert from the University of Dar es Salaam's Computer Department, told The EastAfrican: "Why use government funds to buy second-hand computers? This could end up making Tanzania a dumping ground for outdated computers that are no longer in use in the developed world."

Another specialist from a computer-marketing firm in the capital said: "We are worried that the computers may not be Y2K compliant, because the supplier was supposed to show certification from the manufacturer or a competent computer firm."

The Commissioner for Education said the ministry had bought the used computers because it could not afford to buy new ones.

"The computers are for teaching purposes - introducing student to basics like keyboard commands and Windows 95. Let me assure you that we convened a meeting with our experts and agreed to purchase the computers," he said.

However, he declined to reveal the price paid for the computers.

Copyright ) 2000 The East African. Distributed via Africa News Online.



-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), May 11, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ