Political ethics watchdog Fair-Play Alliance (AFP) has called on the Slovak government not to vote on a contract with Microsoft worth €52 million before "all relevant questions are answered in a clear way”, Peter Kunder of AFP said on Tuesday, January 17, the TASR newswire reported.
The government is planning to prolong a contract to upgrade its use of the Windows operating system, Microsoft Office software, and various other programs for another three years. "The contract is set to be signed without the government publishing a comprehensive analysis on whether there are any other options, why the number of licences should increase, and how individual products are put to use," said Kunder.
He added that the government will pay €52 million to increase the number of licences from 57,686 in 2009 to 82,388 in 2012. "And this despite the fact that the number of civil service jobs has been cut. The contract will also provide licences for programs that civil servants won't ever use in most cases," he claimed. "This material is currently being submitted for comments in a fast-tracked procedure, despite the fact that the Finance Ministry has known for at least three years that the expiry date of the original contract was set for January 31, 2012. The materials don't even specify why the purchase of licences worth €52 million isn't being carried out via a public tender."
Independent MP Jozef Viskupič (of the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities party), also speaking on January 17, said that it was unacceptable that the proposal had been submitted for comments in a fast-tracked procedure. "The ministry has pushed itself into a pressing deadline," said Viskupič.
"The Finance Ministry carried out a series of talks in 2011, and ever since the spring of that year has done its utmost to negotiate the best and most favourable conditions. A thorough survey of the needs of individual institutions was carried out parallel to the aforementioned negotiations, along with inquiries into how Microsoft products were being used and an audit at the Finance Ministry and associated institutions," said Finance Ministry spokesman Martin Jaroš, as quoted by TASR.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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