Min. Lawrence highlights PPP/C drug procurement law breach

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, December 06, 2018

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, in her contribution to the 2019 Budget debate, presented to the National Assembly facts which showed that there were contraventions of the procurement Act by the Peoples’ Progressive Party Civic administration during their tenure.

Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence.

The minister highlighted that as far back as 2007, the previous administration went about the procurement of drugs in a manner which resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars paid in advance for drugs and supplies that were never delivered.

“I quote, Mr. Speaker, from an article in Kaieteur News of January 20, 2013, entitled “Drugs purchases scandal, billions $$ paid to New GPC upfront”. It reads “MOH officials testifying before the PAC of Parliament about its 2010 deals, last week disclosed that it paid hundreds of millions of dollars in full and in advance to New GPC for deliveries; they even continued the same arrangement in 2011.  This was despite the fact that New GPC may not have delivered $222M in drugs ordered in 2010.”

The minister used the article in support of debate detailing the manner in which the then PPP/C administration unfairly continued with the sole sourcing of these drugs. “Health Officials testified to the PAC that between late 2007 and December 2012, New GPC was paid more than $90Million to store drugs for the government.”

With reference to the same article, she noted that in early 2010 the Cabinet under the Jagdeo administration decided that New GPC would be the sole supplier of drugs.

“The article further stated that Drug purchases have accounted for a large chunk of the Ministry of Health with New GPC in 2011 being awarded almost 80 percent of the $13Billion expended.”

To this end, Minister Lawrence reported that the Ministry of Public Health in 2017 established a Procurement Unit within the ministry.  “I wish to remind this Honourable House that the APNU+AFC Government ensured, early in its administration, that a Public Procurement Commission (PPC) be established in order to provide oversight and scrutinize all Government contracts.”

Delicia Haynes.

Image: Jameel Mohamed.

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