The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) has secured approval to purchase 3,95,000 tablets, or tabs, from Walton Digi-Tech Industries Limited for around Tk 447 crore for the 2021 Population and Housing Census, all the country’s first digital census.
The Cabinet Committee on Public Procurement approved the procurement proposal at its eighth meeting held on Thursday, chaired by Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.
The proposed purchase of Walton tabs has been approved fulfilling all conditions, Md Zillur Rahman Chowdhury, additional secretary in the Cabinet Division, said in a media briefing after the meeting.
Authorities had earlier quashed the BBS’s proposal, accusing them of selecting a bidder whose product was more expensive than the rejected bidder. He also ordered the BBS to relaunch the tender for the purchase of the products.
As a general rule, the government conducts a national population and housing census every ten years. The last census took place in 2011.
This time, the government has decided to conduct a digital census from October 25 to 31 and has launched a project which is estimated to cost Tk 1,575 crore, Planning Division sources have said.
The BBS, a wing of the Statistics and Informatics Division of the Ministry of Planning, which is responsible for conducting the census, issued a tender on June 23 last year, inviting bidders to provide 3.95 lakh Tabs for Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) for the main census.
Two companies, Fair Electronics Ltd and Walton, submitted the tender documents, although eight companies bought the schedules.
During technical evaluation, Fair Electronics Ltd’s proposal to supply Samsung Tab was found to be qualified and suitable for the project, although the price of each Tab was Tk 3,500 higher than Walton’s.
But Walton’s proposal was found to be immune to different technical issues, despite its proposed cost being lower than Samsung’s.