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Information & Communication Technology Sector
In little more than 10 years, Malta has changed remarkably from outsourcing most of its ICT requirements abroad to the current fast-increasing exports of its own excellent ICT services. Huge investments were carried out at all levels in ICT and Malta today can boast of a truly modern infrastructure with one of the highest broadband access in EU. The ICT sector has long been considered as one of the sectors that can contribute towards the development of the Maltese economy. There is a significant presence of local and foreign systems development companies in Malta. In fact, a number of European firms have set-up base to capitalise from the cultural and economic advantages that Malta has to offer.
The Maltese ICT cluster is versatile and mature. It is an ideal candidate for the outsourcing of specialist ICT services, such as systems design and integration, software development, application implementations and hosting, skills training and help-desk support. Given its small population Malta is an ideal test-bed for innovative technology solutions.
In all 25 companies were interviewed from the computer & related activities sector. 19 companies had an interest for public procurement activities whilst the remaining 6 companies did not have any interest. Out of these 19 companies, the absolute majority, 18 companies identified public procurement opportunities internally whilst only one company outsourced the process of identifying public procurement opportunities.
The 18 companies who carried out the identification of public procurement opportunities internally were questioned about whose responsibility within their company is this activity. The majority of the respondents mentioned that this process is carried out at a managerial level (11 mentions). Furthermore, 9 respondents commented that this is carried out by a Director whilst only 1 respondent mentioned that this process is carried out by the owner.
Resources and finances
The 19 companies that had an interest in public procurement activities were asked whether they experience any difficulties when they are in the process of bidding for a public procurement call. 7 companies commented that they do encounter problems whilst 12 companies replied in the negative.
The main difficulties encountered by companies in the bidding process were: the complexities present in the tender document, lack of finances, the payment incurred to purchase the document, technical problems, logistical problems, political problems, the public procurement document has to be printed by the company, specifications set are too specific for individual projects and that tender specifications are not accessible to all (1 mention each).
The questionnaire designed for this assignment also sought to determine why a number of companies may not have an interest in public procurement. The main reasons given were that the clients are set up abroad and that the particular product provided cannot be tendered for (2 mentions each). Other reasons mentioned were difficulty to win tenders due to unfairness in procedures and company operates as a distributor (1 mention each).
Trends and Developments within the sector
This sector, being one of the number of identified sectors for foreign investment, is given special attention by Malta Enterprise which is the government agency entrusted with foreign investment development in Malta. Many world class companies already operate successfully in Malta in such sectors and their presence provides a true testimony to the quality and productivity of the Maltese workforce and the infrastructure within which they operate.
Access to information
The 19 companies who had an interest in public procurement were also asked in which media they seek public procurement opportunities. 13 respondents mentioned websites in general followed by newspapers and the Government Gazette (7 mentions each). Other reasons received 3 mentions or less.
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