The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs’ CNMI Nutrition Assistance Program has opened a request for proposal for a vendor to build an improved eligibility system for the agency.
The creation of the eligibility system will help NAP move into the Electronic Benefits Transfer, where benefits are electronically transferred to a debit card-type system instead of obsolete paper coupons.
According to NAP administrator Walter Macaranas, much of the work performed to prepare, produce, and distribute benefits is done manually.
“This affects CNMI NAP’s ability to be more efficient in providing quality client service and ability to produce benefits expeditiously, especially for most applicants and ongoing recipients in need,” he said.
Based on December 2013 data, CNMI NAP provided assistance to 3,222 household cases consisting of 8,707 individuals on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
Macaranas said the new system will provide timely and accurate fiscal and management reports, documentation, staff user training, and controls and checks to reduce opportunities for fraud and abuse.
According to Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), the technology upgrade will complement the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program study.
“Upgrading the system will help bring the NMI food stamp program in line with SNAP and add the ability to issue benefits using plastic debit cards,” Sablan said.
The recently enacted Agricultural Act of 2014 requires U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the capability of the Northern Marianas to operate SNAP and provides $30.5 million to raise benefits beginning in October 2015.
“The CNMI’s proposed system upgrade and moving away from paper food stamps should make SNAP for the CNMI that much more doable. Agriculture is working on drafting the request for proposal for its SNAP study. That request is expected to be issued this summer,” Sablan said.
The request for proposal describes the specifications for the services to be provided to permit full and open competition and will allow the one offered to properly respond the proposal
Proposers located outside of the CNMI may obtain an additional seven working days for receipt of their proposal by submitting a notice of intent to propose. The notices must be received by the director of Procurement and Supply no later than 10am local time on July 28, 2014.
According to Macaranas all proposals must be sealed, marked, and submitted in original and four copies no later than 10am local time on July 28 this year.
Macaranas noted that there will be a pre-proposal conference on May 28, 2014, at the DCCA-NAP office at the JTV Building in As Lito on Saipan.
For more information regarding the NAP’s request for proposal, contact Macaranas at (670) 664-2840 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.