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Firms making tablet PCs late and face fines: Chaturon

All three successful bidders for the government's "One Tablet per Child" project have failed to deliver the devices on time.

"We are going to fine them," caretaker Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang said yesterday.

He said the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) had been instructed to handle the matter. Procurement contracts allow a fine to be imposed on these suppliers for delayed deliveries, due late last month.

"We may even have to terminate contracts," Chaturon said.

An informed source said the daily fine for the firms could range from Bt980,000 to Bt1.5 million each. But the total maximum fine shall not exceed 10 per cent of the procurement budget. When the fine amount reaches this ceiling, the contracts must be terminated.

The government earmarked Bt4.61 billion for the procurement of 1.6 million tablet computers for the 2013 academic year. These tablets are due to be handed out to Prathom 1 and Mathayom 1 students under the project, which is one of the Pheu Thai Party's populist policies.

However, with the academic year reaching its final months, the suppliers have not yet delivered the tablets.

"The Obec plans a meeting with two suppliers next week," a source at the Education Ministry said.

Chaturon complained that the delay had caused damage to students and teachers, who should have already got tablets for their study and teaching.


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