Due to the increased interest from the companies and the large number of additional questions and suggestions from potential applicants, we inform you that the deadline for applying for the public call for digitalization of municipalities is extended until 19.10.2020 until 12.00.
In addition, for further guidance, see the “Frequently Asked Questions” which may be useful when filling out the application package.
According to Article 19 and 23 of the Law on innovation activity (Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia No. 79/13, 137/13, 41/14, 44/15, 6/16, 53/16, 190/16 и 64/18), and in accordance with the Agreement concluded between the United Nations Development Program and the Fund for Innovation and Technology Development for the implementation of the project “COVID – 19 rapid response through a public call for digitalization of local government services” when UNDP is an implementing partner, the Fund for Innovation and Technology Development on 02.10.2020, announces the following Public Call:
The digitalisation of public services is a process that is gaining momentum with the rise of information technologies. The introduction of digital public services enables transparency, accountability and equal, faster and easier access to public services for citizens and all relevant stakeholders.
In conditions of increased need for rapid economic recovery from the consequences caused by the pandemic of COVID 19 and improvement of the quality of life in the newly created conditions, digitalization of services acquires special importance especially when it comes to public services at the local level.
Based on this, the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development (Fund) in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) announces a call for funding projects to provide digital solutions / tools that will be introduced in the daily operations of five municipalities in the Republic. Northern Macedonia: Centar Zupa, Bogovinje, Sveti Nikole, Prilep and Kumanovo.
The selected municipalities are part of the ongoing project activities of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) aimed at supporting the country in dealing with the effects of COVID-19, as well as conducting a rapid and comprehensive socio-economic analysis of the effects of the pandemic and determining opportunities for faster recovery on a local level. During the selection of the municipalities, several criteria were taken into account: prevalence of COVID-19 at the local level (number of infected persons and active cases at the moment); number of inhabitants and ethnic structure; representation of urban versus rural municipalities; geographical representation in accordance with the territorial organization of the country (representation by planning regions).
The offered solutions within the public call “Digitalization of local government services” are expected to be useful for the citizens and the local government through: protection of health, improvement of the efficiency in the work and creation of conditions for socio-economic growth and development in the municipality. The solutions should modernize the services of the municipalities and be applicable in normal operating conditions, with a developed plan for further maintenance and improvement. The solutions should be easily applicable by different categories of citizens of different age structures, without restriction, with clear and understandable instructions for use. They should contribute to greater transparency, accountability and civic participation. Ideally, the offered solution could be used and incorporated in existing e-platforms.
The purpose of the call is accelerated digitalization of local government services through the development of digital tools / solutions in order to improve the quality of services in selected municipalities, facilitating compliance with measures to prevent the spread of the virus and accelerate economic recovery from the consequences caused by the COVID 19 pandemic.
Within the public call “Digitalization of local government services” each applicant has the opportunity to submit a proposal for a solution for e-platform. With the introduction of an e-platform, users are provided with electronic access to services, it is easier to follow the recommendations for protection against the pandemic and it provides a faster way of communication and implementation / processing / processing of requests, payments, etc. E-platform is a solution that provides unique access to e-services currently offered by the municipality, and is also a platform for communication with the community in real time.
In order to achieve successful implementation of the e-platform service, the following solutions need to be defined and integrated in a simple way:
This solution provides the establishment of a system (platform) on which the citizens will be able to log in electronically, to receive information about their debts for different types of taxes and para-fiscal duties and to pay them at any time and from any location with Internet access.
Similar to the system for electronic payment of duties to municipalities, this solution provides the establishment of a system (platform) through which citizens can log in electronically, get insight into their bills and pay them through the system.
This solution envisages the creation of an online form in which will apply interested persons who would like to help in dealing with crisis situations. These volunteers would assist in delivering food and medicine to vulnerable groups of citizens as well as in other activities carried out by the municipalities during the pandemic. When filling in the online form, it will be possible to determine the municipality in which the volunteers live and therefore the database of registered volunteers will be automatically filled, which will be available to the municipality in order to timely organize volunteer assistance in future crisis situations. The purpose of the system is to help mobilize volunteers in case of crisis situations. For example, when faced with a crisis situation, the system will alert the volunteers that the municipality needs their help (state the reason and the number of volunteers needed). The system should allow volunteers to return information about their availability. When the required number of volunteers is met, the rest will be notified that no additional resources are needed.
The Municipal Forum is a tool for active involvement of citizens in the decision-making process at the municipal level. The forum serves the municipality to develop transparent decision-making practices involving citizens, but to develop a sense of responsibility for spending municipal funds among citizens. The forums are organized for public discussion and reaching agreement of the local public on the content of the municipal budget, on the priorities in the documents for strategic local development, on identifying problems and solutions for certain issues under the competence of the local government, as well as on developing, proposing and selecting projects of community interest. The proposed solution for an online platform for a municipal forum should offer the opportunity to the citizens to take an active part in the work of the municipality without the need for physical presence at the forums organized by the municipalities. This solution can be realized by using existing conference communication platforms such as WebEx, Zoom, Google Meet, etc. or to create a new platform that will be specifically used for this purpose.
You can see the brief description of the technical conditions available to the municipalities on the following link.
Within the e-platform, each applicant should offer solutions for all four services listed above, for implementation in the five selected municipalities.
The solutions should leave space to be upgraded in the future according to the needs and opportunities of the municipalities.
The duration of the project can be up to 30 days.
The solutions should leave space to be upgraded in the future according to the needs and opportunities of the municipalities.
A total budget of 75,000 (seventy five thousand) US dollars in denar counter-value has been provided for financing projects under this call.
The Fund provides financing до 100up to 100% (one hundred percent) of the total project budget, in a maximum amount of 75,000 (seventy five thousand) US dollars in denar value per projectincluding supervision costs in the amount of 10% of the total operating budget of the project..
The method of payment of the funds to the selected applicants (beneficiaries of the Fund) is: advance payment, after signing the Agreement in the amount of 50% of the total project budget, and the remaining 50% after successful implementation of the solution in the municipalities that have technical conditions for implementation of the same.
The beneficiary of the funds is obliged to submit the final report to the Fund within seven days after the expiration of the deadline for realization of the project, which means development and implementation of the solution.
The report on the realization of the solution/s and their implementation is submitted by the Faculty of Information Sciences and Computer Engineering at the University “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” in Skopje (FINKI), in order to determine whether the tools / solutions have been successfully realized and implemented in the systems of the municipalities and is submitted within 7 days, after the deadline for realization of the project.
If there are not enough quality project proposals or the conditions for financing are not met, the Fund reserves the right not to award funds.
The public call is intended for enterprises that can offer innovative and / or technologically advanced solution alone or in cooperation with an institution that performs higher education, i.e. scientific and research activity, another enterprise and / or association.
The applicant must be a legal entity that fulfils the following requirements:
The activities provided in the project proposal should correspond to the phases of research and development, i.e. the advancement of technology to a model functional and applicable in real circumstances.
Activities may include:
The abovementioned list of activities is not limiting.
The costs provided in the project budget for procurement of equipment and resources for research, development and implementation should correspond to the activities provided in the project application.
Costs eligible for funding are:
The costs of supervision that will be implemented by the Faculty of Information Sciences and Computer Engineering at the University “St. Cyril and Methodius University – Skopje as a mandatory item in the project budget, are in the amount of 10% (ten percent) of the total operating budget of the project.
Only costs incurred during the project in accordance with the approved Project budget and realized by the end of the project are eligible for funding.
Costs that are not eligible for financing:
The Fund reserves the right to negotiate with the applicants who will be awarded funds regarding the definition of the project activities and project budget on the basis of recommendations received from the Evaluation and Selection Commission (hereinafter: the Commission), before the signing of the Contract for awarding funds.
If the Project is based on existing intellectual property rights, the Beneficiary is obliged, before signing the Contract for awarding funds, to submit proof of the right to use the intellectual property in the form of a licensing agreement, “in-kind” contribution agreements or other type of agreement confirming that the Beneficiary has the right to use the intellectual property on which the Project is based.
The Fund is not liable for intellectual property rights disputes between the Beneficiary and third parties.
All intellectual property rights and know-how that will be created during the implementation of the Project and / or as a result of the implementation of the Project belong to the Beneficiary and if applicable, the Beneficiary should protect the intellectual property rights.
The Beneficiary of the funds agrees the tools / solutions that are the result of the implementation of the project for which the funds have been awarded, and / or the rights of use of the intellectual property that would possibly be the result of the project, be available completely and free of charge without restrictions to all units of local government in the Republic of North Macedonia without any additional compensation or payment of additional funds beside those paid under the Contract for awarding funds.
The Beneficiary of the funds should implement the tools / solutions that are the result of the implementation of the project in accordance with the Contract for awarding funds, in the five municipalities without any additional compensation or payment of additional funds beside those paid under the Contract
The evaluation, selection and adopting of the final decision for selection and awarding funds to the user / s is performed by the Evaluation and Selection Commission (Commission).
Project evaluation consists of several steps:
Each project proposal is evaluated by the Commission, which consists of:
The Committee operates on the basis of a Rules of Procedure of the Evaluation and Selection Committee that is adopted at the first meeting of the Committee.
NOTE: At the request of the members of the Commission, the Fund may hire experts who will provide expert opinion on certain applications, appropriate to the area of their expertise. In such event, the expert opinion will be taken into account by the members of the commission when evaluating the application.
The main criteria for project evaluation and allocation of funds through this Instrument are:
The main criteria and sub-criteria for project evaluation are given in the form of Evaluation Table.
The applicants who will show that they have experience in implementing the same or similar projects, i.e. in developing digital solutions related to online payments, will have preference in the evaluation.
The Fund reserves the right to negotiate with the applicants regarding the definition of the activities and the project budget on the basis of recommendations received from the Evaluation and Selection Commission, before signing a Contract for awarding funds.
The Fund reserves the right not to allocate funds if there are not enough quality project proposals or the conditions for granting funds are not met in accordance with the conditions stated in the Public Call.
When applying, the following documents must be submitted:
The overall documentation should be submitted in Macedonian language. The project documentation must be submitted on the forms prepared by the Fund.
The deadline for applying on the public call is until 15.10.2020, until 14:00.
Only those project proposals submitted in the above manner and within the given deadline will be considered for funding.
The rules and procedures for implementation, monitoring and supervision of the project are defined in the Contract for awarding funds that will be concluded between the Fund and the applicant-beneficiary of the funds provided within this public call.
The form of the Contract for awarding funds within this public call is available at the link.
For all additional information you can:
In order to assist you in preparing project proposals, for the duration of the call, the Fund will organize info events and consultative meetings. Information about these activities will be published in a timely manner on the Fund’s website and on our Facebook profile.
Does the project envisage the possibility of a consortium or partnership with other companies/institutions in order to develop and implement the solution?
Yes. The possibility for hiring other legal and/or natural persons by concluding a sub-cooperation agreement is envisaged. This type of cost can be foreseen in the project budget in budget item “III. Technical support/expertise costs (contractual services for development, testing, implementation, etc.)
Is it foreseen to have a predefined format and way in which the data would be exchanged with the financial and tax systems of the municipalities? Is it possible to get a list of tax and financial systems used in each municipality, given that in the document on technical conditions that the municipalities have, this is not specified at all for certain municipalities?
The municipalities have databases of financial and tax records, which will be shared with the selected applicant. For those municipalities that have shared technical specifications for their systems, which have the ability for structured data exchange, we will work with the given ones. For those municipalities that don’t have a proper system or don’t have an interface for data exchange on the system, it is expected that the selected applicant in the new platform will develop a generic interface for data exchange in a structured format, to which interface municipalities can adapt in the future, existing or new systems and will be able to consume and transmit data.
How will the hosting of the web modules of the offered solution will be solved, which will be inevitable for the realization of electronic payment? Will each municipality host its own instance of the solution or is a solution planned to which all municipalities will be connected and which will be hosted on a separate/shared server?
The applicant, according to his/her own proposal, can submit 2 options:
Option 1: Each municipality should have individual ownership and will host its own instance on its own servers or cloud
Option 2: There will be a shared server or shared cloud for all municipalities and a shared instance will be hosted on a shared server.
How is the infrastructure for processing electronic payments planned to be set up? Will each municipality have to sign a separate agreement with a company/bank that provides such services? Is there a possibility for each municipality to be able to choose a potentially different processing company/bank that would entail the implementation of different technical solutions?
The applicant should submit a proposed solution that will be the most optimal, most economical and easiest to use by the municipality.
Can be a more precise explanation be given of what is expected to be done within 30 days, a deadline that is stated as the period for realization of the entire project activities? Given that it is about developing and/or adapting 4 different software components in 5 different municipalities that have different technical capacities and potential integration of several external services (companies/banks for processing electronic transactions), the given deadline is extremely risky.
Within 30 days, the decision should be realized and implemented in the selected municipalities in accordance, with the technical conditions and possibilities of the municipalities.
What accounting and tax software do municipalities use?
According to the document submitted as an attachment to the public call “Technical conditions in the municipalities: Specification of IT equipment”, the municipalities have:
Municipality of Kumanovo: For taxes: AZARO, and for accounting: EDUSOFT
Municipality of Prilep: For taxes: LTAS, and for accounting: EDUSOFT
Municipality of Bogovinje: For taxes: LTAS, and for accounting: EDUSOFT and Compact
Municipality of Sveti Nikole: For taxes: LTAS, and for accounting: EDUSOFT
Municipality of Centar Zupa: For taxes: Aspect, and for accounting: EDUSOFT
On which e-platforms are meant when it is said “Ideally, the offered solution could be used and embedded in existing e-platforms”?
If the company has already developed a solution, or an existing e-platform, it can make an adaptation in order to adapt it to the conditions of the call, instead of developing a completely new solution or e-platform.
Is it necessary to create a mobile application or just a platform available online?
It is not necessary to have a mobile application, it is enough to have a responsive website.
For the fourth component – community forums, existing applications/tools can be used. Does this mean that existing solutions can’t be used for the other components?
For all four segments of the e-platform, existing solutions can be used that need to be further developed and adapted according to the terms of the call.
As one of the conditions that the applicant must meet is the following condition: “Not to have accumulated more than 200,000.00 (two hundred thousand) euros of minor assistance for a period of three fiscal years. Including the amount requested by the Fund in accordance with the Law for control of state aid and the Decree on the conditions and procedure for granting aid of minor importance (de minimis) ”. (de minimis)“.
What exactly is meant?
In case the applicant company has used minor state aid in the previous three years in accordance with the Law on State Aid Control and the Decree on the conditions and procedure for granting minor aid (de minimis), the amount of aid used, including the requested amount of funds from the Fund should not exceed 200,000.00 (two hundred thousand) euros.
“The amounts of gross salary should correspond to the established practices of the user before the start of the project” – Does this include freelancers and how is it proven?
Freelancers, or externally hired persons, don’t enter the item for gross salaries through a contract. This item provides for a gross salary cost only for persons who are or will be employed by the applicant.
In case of engagement of outsiders, that cost should be foreseen in the budget item “III Costs for technical support/expertise” where the amount of the cost should correspond to the market conditions.
If applying as a consortium, is it necessary to enclose the consortium agreement when applying?
No, there is no need for consortium agreement. The possibility for partnership with other legal and/or natural persons is provided by concluding a sub-cooperation agreement. This type of cost can be foreseen in the project budget in budget item “III. Technical support/expertise costs (contractual services for development, testing, implementation, etc.). The cooperation agreement can be attached to the other documents.
If applying as a consortium, all companies have to submit signed statements (statement of acceptance of the conditions from FITR and statement of ownership structure) or are they submitted only by the main applicant (project holder)?
Applications should be submitted only by the applicant company.
Given the short deadline for implementation of only 30 days, and given that a very important criterion that is stated in both the call and the evaluation table is the experience that is best proven by similar solutions already made. It becomes obvious that in order to achieve the goal in these time frames, the solution can’t be developed from the beginning, but we must adapt our existing solutions that we actively sell in the market, and also use internally developed tools and platforms that we will modify according to the requirements in the call. This, in budget terms, means that the costs that we will incur in those 30 days are incomparably lower than the value of the already realized that we put into operation and for which we have done and continue to incur development costs, but also valorize them through sale to end users. This is important, especially since with the finalization of this software, according to the requirements in the call, we should give up its further commercialization in the local self-government units in terms of selling user licenses for everything that has been done with this project. With that we lose future income, but we compensate them with the one-time payment of the solution through the relatively solid planned budget. However, since the solution is based on the above-mentioned previously internally developed, rather than procured applications, tools and platforms, we request that they be recognized as an expense in item 2 of the budget form: Equipment and consumables (for development, implementation, integration, etc.) . We consider that it is a fair approach, satisfactory for all participants in the project. We ask for your opinion regarding the request we have made.
The purpose of the public call is to develop a solution, in accordance with the specifics and needs described in the application package, and based on the analysis made by an external consulting company. Regarding the deadlines for realization, they are determined by the dynamics for realization of the funds under which the financial partner (donor) is subject to the call – UNDP.
The project budget can’t cover the costs incurred by the applicant before the start of the project. The start date of the project will be defined by the grant agreement itself.
Knowing the conditions for realization of the call, including the obligation for the developed solution to be available free of charge for all other units of local self-government, and in the context of your question, several possibilities are available to the applicants. In the part of using existing solutions (already developed), as a basis for modification, adaptation and/or upgrade of the new solution, the applicant is enabled to anticipate appropriate costs for:
as well as
We note that the public call is aimed at developing a new and innovative (improved), and not procurement of an existing solution, which means that the costs of using an internal or other type of existing solution should not be a dominant part of the proposed budget. We also mention that the proposed budgets will be part of the evaluation process within the criteria for selection of the best proposed solution.
If the project itself is based on an existing solution and its further development, the project application must clearly state what level of development and characteristics the existing solution has and what characteristics will be obtained with the development of the new one.
From the discussion at the meeting it became clear that the implementation in the covered municipalities will exceed the planned 30 days for several listed objective reasons: ensuring effective cooperation with local software providers, regulating the obligations of municipalities and PEs related to electronic payments, somewhere may need to be also procures hardware, system software, and even application software, which requires tender procedures, etc. In the budget we will anticipate all the costs for the implementation activities: communication with the participants and system analysis and design, development, customizations, installations and configurations, implementation of interoperability, trainings, etc. but it is not clear how we will justify these costs to end of the project within 30 days, if they occur in the period following it. Can you explain or specify what the instruments will be and what documents will be required to hand over the decision and to confirm the implemented activities?
After the expiration of the deadline for implementation and realization of the decision, or after the expiration of 30 days, the user submits a final report consisting of a financial part and a descriptive part.
In the financial part, all data on realized procurements and incurred costs during the project are entered, where it is checked whether they are in accordance with the approved budget and the excerpts from the dedicated account and the invoices / contracts and other accompanying documentation are checked as proof of the done cost.
The descriptive part explains the activities implemented within the deadline and their compliance with the list of project activities listed in the project application.
At the same time, the report on the realization of the solution/s and their implementation is submitted by the Faculty of Information Sciences and Computer Engineering at the University “Ss. Cyril and Methodi” in Skopje (FINKI), in order to determine whether the tools/solutions are successful, realized and implemented in the systems of the municipalities and is submitted within 7 days, after the deadline for realization of the project. FINKI can continuously have insight into the work of design, development and implementation of the solution in the implementation period.
After the financial and descriptive report is approved and after receiving a report from FINKI for successful realization and implementation of the solutions, it is followed by payment of the remaining 50% of the project budget.
If one or more of the pilot municipalities, at the moment of completion of the project, don’t have technical conditions for implementation of the solution, the applicant can offer an agreement for regulation of the conditions. And for temporary transfer of their (or leased) facilities for functioning of the solution in a certain period of time, in which the pilot municipalities should implement all the technical conditions for taking over and using it the costs for such deviation/use of facilities that are not to the municipalities are an eligible cost in the proposed budget and will be provided as a one-time payment to the applicant and/or other legal entity, provider of these services. Thereby, taking over the decision from the temporary infrastructure to the municipal one, after the expiration of the contract, can’t be subject to compensation, or it will be free of charge, as for all other municipalities (outside the pilot group). Further, during the evaluation of the proposed projects, the “total cost of ownership” of the proposed solution will be assessed, and the total number of licenses and resources required for long-term operation of the solution.
Those temporary facilities may include hosting, licenses, hardware and software infrastructure, online payment service, and additional facilities related to the successful implementation and operation of the system. The list is not exhaustive.
In which languages should the portal be made? Should they be more linguistic (MK, ALB, TR, SRB) or only in official – Macedonian language? Should the content of the portal be entered in parallel in all defined languages or by choice?
According to the legal regulations, a table with the official languages of the municipalities in which the digital tools from the public call should be implemented is attached:
Macedonian, Albanian, Serbian and Romani
Macedonian and Albanian
Macedonian and Turkish
Within the project budget, in case of need, it is allowed to provide costs for translation of the decision in the budget item “IV. other operating costs directly related to the realization of the project.”
If we understood well, after the handover of the software and the accompanying services, in the future we will be able to count only on the coverage of implementation costs (implementation of interoperability with local software, training, support, etc.) by other municipalities that are not subject to implementation in this call. It will also not be our responsibility to cover them, but we will need to inform the municipalities that will take care of this solution of the need to provide them/his funds to cover the future costs of operating the system, such as a subscription, on video conferencing tools (for the forum), hosting, bank fees, etc. Our question is: is there an institution, public authority or other entity (so-called – system owner) which will be in charge of this platform which will have to provide the conditions for hosting or providing system infrastructure, which will negotiate with collection banks, will organize the maintenance etc. Or all this will be a separate obligation of each municipality, which raises the need to set up a separate instance of the application for each unit of local self-government. Do you think that within the project we should provide the hardware and system infrastructure for hosting along with the necessary licenses for databases, operating systems, etc. or should we provide outsourcing hosting and if so, then how do you plan and from whom to ask to cover the costs that will occur during its operation after activation (hosting, maintenance, migration, possible additional training, etc.), when the project is intended to cover only the costs of development and implementation?
Each municipality owns its own system or part of the system and is responsible for providing initial support and long-term sustainability of its solution.
During the evaluation of the proposed projects for selection of an implementer, among other things, the “total cost of ownership” of the proposed solution in the medium and long term will be assessed, and the total number of required licenses, resources, facilities, maintenance costs for long-term ownership and operation of the solution.
If deemed necessary, the applicant may allocate funds in the draft budget for: initial hardware and system hosting infrastructure, cloud infrastructure, required licenses for databases, operating systems and other necessary initial infrastructure in the budget item “operating costs” and other related costs. with the project ”.
If one or more of the pilot municipalities, at the moment of completion of the project, don’t have technical conditions for implementation of the decision, the applicant can offer an agreement to regulate the conditions, or temporary transfer of their (or leased) facilities for the operation of the solution in a certain period of time, in which the pilot municipalities should implement all the technical conditions for taking over and using it. The costs for such deviation / use of facilities that are not to the municipalities are an eligible cost in the proposed budget and will be provided as a one-time payment to the applicant and / or other legal entity, provider of these services. Thereby, taking over the decision from the temporary infrastructure to the municipal one, after the expiration of the contract, cannot be subject to compensation, and it will be free of charge, as for all other municipalities (outside the pilot group).
Do we need to offer a certain warranty period for the solution we offer?
It was not requested in accordance with the conditions of the public call, but in the evaluation process, among other things, it will be assessed whether the bidder has offered a certain period of time as a guarantee period, and all benefits offered by the bidder to the municipalities after the implementation of the decision will be assessed.
Knowing that there are several public enterprises in each of the pilot municipalities, should the second application from the public call be unified for all of them, or should separate applications be developed for each of the public enterprises? In the case of a unified application, periodic communication between enterprises and a designated operator maintenance operator will be required in order to update the databases. The answer to this question is important, given that some public utilities in the pilot municipalities already have electronic payment applications.
If in one of the municipalities there is a system for online payment of one of the services, and if the service is quality and reliable, and the municipality is satisfied with the work, it is enough to integrate the existing system (via hyperlink or through deeper integration) in the new platform covers all other payments. If the old service is unsatisfactory, a new one should be made.
If both ways of working are acceptable (making a joint application and making separate applications), then which offer will be more appreciated during the evaluation?
The offered solution that is more efficient, more economical, more stable, more robust and more sustainable in the future will be appreciated.