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State mobile payment system to launch on time despite annulled credit call

Hungary's National Mobile Payment System will be launched as planned, on September 30, in spite of a recent decision by the Public Procurement Arbitration Board (KDB) annulling an invitation by Nemzeti Mobilfizetési, the state-owned company that will set up and operate the system, for a HUF 800 million development loan, Nemzeti Mobilfizetési said. Nemzeti Mobilfizetési acknowledged KDB's decision, which also carries a HUF 5 million fine, but said it was professionally disputable. KDB annulled the invited, negotiated procedure for the loan in May, arguing that Nemzeti Mobilfizetési should have called a conventional tender. It said the company, registered in November, had more than enough time to invite such a tender. Nemzeti Mobilfizetési argued that its supervisory board did not clear the company to seek the development loan, designed to finance IT developments, until March 20. The IT developments necessary to implement the payment system require about four and a half months and should start in May to meet the September deadline, it added. Nemzeti Mobilfizetési invited offers for the loan from four banks - MFB, Takarékbank, K&H and OTP - on March 20. The deadline for submitting bids was April 19. The system will be a uniform one for paying transportation fees throughout the country via mobile telephone. Companies that offer mobile payment services at present will operate as resellers in the new state-run system. It will be introduced for the payment of parking fees and motorway stickers on September 30, and will be extended to railway tickets and public transportation between 2014 and 2017. Parliament passed a cardinal law on the establishment of the system in December 2011. The government passed a decree on the detailed regulations, including fees, in December 2012.