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A US$1500 Mistake…Minister Admits Error In Laptop Price

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Junior Finance minister Jennifer Webster today admitted in the national assembly that she got her figures wrong with the government’s one laptop per family programme. During the budget considerations, Minister Webster told the national assembly that each of the Lenovo branded laptops being bought under its one laptop per family programme will carry a cost of $1500 US. That was yesterday, today she said she made a mistake and that the cost is really $295 USD.
She made the correction today after the government came under questioning about the true cost of the project and what type of computers were really being bought for that 1500USD price.
Even computer technicians and sales agents were confused with the price tag quoted yesterday saying that’s a price reserved for very high end computers. Many of them today questioned how the junior finance minister could make such a blunder by quoting a price that is nearly 5 times the cost she says she really meant.
But a former consultant to the Government’s one laptop per family programme is paying close attention to just how much the programme will really cost since he is convinced that problems will creep up.

Reports state that a local non-governmental group was expected to be used as the pilot project for the programme but the group pulled out. The consultants had spent over a year coming up with the programme and the best price it could have gotten for the laptops.

Once that job was done, capitol news was told that the president himself took on the responsibility to over look the programme. Just a few weeks back he launched the programme at

the international conference center.

It was during the President’s take over, that the consultant left and the NGO reportedly removed itself. A consultant who was involved in the US mortgage industry has since moved in to be apart of the project.

The consultant who has left was putting together the programme to mirror the one that Trinidad and Tobago has in place.

In Trinidad, the government has a one laptop per child programme. Laptops are given out to successful students who completed the common entrance exams. The Trinidadian government buys its laptops which are new models from the Hewlett Packard company for just $500. Ironically when the Trinidad government first quoted a price for its laptop, it was a very high price which, the government later reduced when the opposition there raised questions.

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