THE 100 per cent medical kits in Papua New Guinea have been rotting away in storage in the past five months although the distribution contract was awarded in July, says the country's Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Dr Lino Tom.
He said the drug supply issue was not the fault of the health department but the National Procurement Commission (NPC) “which is not doing what it is supposed to do”.
He accused the NPC of awarding contracts to companies which lacked the capacity to distribute.
But the NPC chief executive officer Simon Bole said the delay had nothing to do with the commission.
“The NPCs role in the procurement ends when the contract is signed,” he said.
The four contracts, worth K33 million, for the distribution of the 100 percent medical kits, were awarded on July 22 at the NPC to:
The board decides who to award the contracts to.
“The committee and the board are two independent boards. I am not part of the committee or the board,” he said.
“Once the board awards the contracts, NPC draws up the contracts and that is where our job ends.”
Bole said that after the contracts were awarded, the Health Department requested Express Customs Ltd and Trans Hire to deposit a 20 per cent guarantee into their account before they could release the mobilisation fee.
“This, however, did not apply to the other two contractors,” he said.
“So the two companies brought their Southern Cross Insurance Security Certificate (which the Health Department) refused to accept.
“It said that the contracts must be removed and given to other companies, and that they will seek advice from the solicitor’s office.”
Bole said if the Health Department wanted to do that, “it will go back to the board to decide”.
Meanwhile, a supplier which procured the 100 per cent medical kits said it became concerned because the kits were kept in containers in the open for five months after being moved out of their ventilated warehouse.
It reminded the Health Department 10 times in the past five months that the kits were yet to be delivered to health facilities.
But the supplying firm never got any reply from the department regarding the drugs.
The National / PNG Health Watch
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