Delayed joint-border project gets approval

RFP approved, but final authorisation not yet confirmed

The Customs Service has been granted a provisional go-ahead to develop its huge and much-delayed Joint Border Management System.

The project is a collaborative project with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to improve the ICT aspects of securing New Zealand’s international borders.

Government approval, however, only extends to developing a request for proposal (RFP).

Actual issue of the RFP is still “subject to decisions on funding to be made as part of Budget 2010”, says Customs. “If approval to proceed is received in the Budget, Customs and MAF expect to be able to issue the RFP in or around May 2010,” Customs says.

As one of the largest current public-sector projects, the JBMS, valued earlier this year at about $120 million, was developed under the Labour-led government and before the global financial crisis.

It proceeded as far as an advance notice of a request to tender in August last year, but the line-by-line review of public-sector expenditure following the change of government held up progress.

In Budget 2009 review documents, JBMS was identified as a “Specific Financial Risk”.

Customs has been close-mouthed on the matter since the change of government.

The agency had analysed responses to an original request for information (RFI) which indicated a provisional group of interested vendors, but now says “due to the time that will have passed since receipt and analysis of RFI responses, it is most likely that any RFP approved for issue will be open, although the minimum eligibility criteria specified in the RFI are expected to remain the same."

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