Jagdeo Defends Laptop Project
President Bharrat Jagdeo today said he did not understand the hullabaloo in the press over the One Laptop Per Family project, for which the government is spending 1.8 billion and an additional US$30 million in Chinese aid. But the government continues to contradict itself regarding information about the project. The Minister within the Ministry of Finance Jennifer Webster has said that the government procured the first set of laptops through set procurement procedures, but Jagdeo had a completely different story to tell.
According to Jagdeo, all the money that was spent on the project so far is an estimated 1 million for five laptop sot use by the project staff, and the computers for distribution were given as a gift and not purchased under any competitive process as Jagdeo’s minister told the National Assembly. Jagdeo further admitted today that there was not enough information on the project and lamented the mistake made by the same Minister Webster about the cost of the laptops the government intends to procure.
The President said there will be an international tender process for the laptops. The government intends to distribute 27, 000 this year, but if the Chinese funding kicks in, 50, 000 will be distributed.