Min. Lawrence sets record straight on award of $366.9M for emergency medical supplies

– Tender Administration Board approved award

– Public Health Ministry does not make advance payments to company

– Lawrence warns against misrepresentation of facts

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, July 19, 2018

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence today clarified in the National Assembly that all the procedures were followed in the awarding of a $366.9Million contract to New York-based HDM Labs on August 21, 2017, for the supply of pharmaceutical emergency supplies for regional and clinical services.

The minister told the House that this was confirmed by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), which stated that the contract followed all the requirements set out in the 2003 Procurement Act.

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence

Minister Lawrence said on April 28, 2017, a request was made to NPTAB for restrictive tendering for the procurement of the supplies from six companies; ANSA McAL Limited, Caribbean Medical Supplies, Global Healthcare Supplies, International Pharmaceutical Agency, HDM Labs Incorporated and Meditron Incorporated.

Standard bidding documents were approved on May 3, 2017, Minister Lawrence noted, while tenders were opened on May 23, 2017, only three were received.

On June 19, 2017, the NPTAB recommended that no award be made to any of the three bidders as they failed to meet the evaluation criteria at the preliminary stage.

The minister explained that following this decision, the ministry then requested from NPTAB for restrictive re-tendering, which was approved on June 30, 2017.

On July 12, 2017, all six companies were asked to resubmit and only HDM Labs Incorporated responded when the bids were reopened on July 18, 2017.

The minister said on August 16, 2017, the evaluation report for re-tender was received from NPTAB recommending that the sole bidder be awarded the contract.

A memo was then submitted to the Cabinet on August 29, 2017, noting NPTAB’s recommendation. Further, the award by NPTAB was addressed to the Permanent Secretary of the Public Health Ministry on August 31, 2017.

Minister Lawrence reminded the House that it was under the Coalition administration that the Procurement Department was established within the Public Health Ministry to ensure that there was segregation of duties, transparency and accountability in the procurement of items and services for the ministry, “while ensuring that the ministry adhered to the regulations and procedures stipulated by law.”

While commending the monitoring of the system, the Public Health Minister urged that this be done in an appropriate and sensible manner, “avoiding sensationalism and misrepresentation of facts.”

She also made it clear that the granting of advance payments to companies without any order or contracts is a thing of the past and is not the conduct of the Public Health Ministry under this government.

By: Stacy Carmichael

Image: Jules Gibson