The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in Parliament headed by Budadiri East MP Hon Nandala Mafabi has ordered a thorough audit of the National Medical Stores (NMS) over the supply of uniforms worth a whopping 13.3 billion shillings.
Despite the Inspector General of Government (IGG) stating in her report that all the right procedures were followed during the purchase of these uniforms, the PAC feels that this report is lacking based on the Auditor General’s report of the health sector for the financial years of 2016/17-2019/20.
“The Committee recommends that Ministry of Health should procure their uniforms as they used to do before they contracted National Medical Stores to deliver uniforms on their behalf,” Mafabi read during the delivery of the PAC report.
Looking into either reports, for PAC and IGG, there were numerous allegations with the PAC committee stating that NMS had bought the uniforms at a value of 153,000 Ugx contrary to the IGG’s which stated that they costed 101,000 Ugx.
The IGG’s report further exonerated NMS from any wrong doing saying that the body had not inflated the prices while doing the procurement and distribution of these uniforms to both males and females of Allied Professional Workers at a reserve price of 95000 Ugx on behalf of the Ministry of Health.
NMS had actually leveraged the allotment to execute the necessities dictated under the BuBu policy by aquiring the uniforms in question from M/s Southern Range Nyanza Ltd (Nytil), a Ugandan local company based in Jinja that was contracted to the supply of uniforms and medical forms for 3 years.
“There was no evidence obtained to suggest that the unit price for the uniforms was inflated. M/s Nytil Ltd was the sole bidder and had been supplying uniforms to NMS before the FY2016/17 and the unit price which the company was contracted for the supply of the uniforms was lower than NMS’s reserve price,” the IGG’s report read partly on the same subject.
The former State Minister of Health on General Duties, Sarah Opendi while speaking in parliament on the same issue said that it was not right to hand back the role of procurement of uniforms to the ministry since there are several challenges associated with the procurement process.
However, this report from the IGG was not enough for PAC and Mafabi to let NMS off the hook with Mafabi saying how NMS had never opened up a deposit account for the uniform procurement money which contradicts treasury instructions that govern one entity performing financial functions on behalf of another.
Mafabi went ahead to wonder how NMS that does not manufacture uniforms was given such a contract. He said that owing to all this mess, the uniforms were neither delivered on time, had the right quality and size nor were they properly distributed.
“The uniforms supplied by NMS were overpriced as compared to the market prices. The prices charged by National Medical Stores was 153,360 Shillings plus 8 percent delivery charges per uniform and total cost by National Medical Stores was 165,629 Shillings yet when the Ministry conducted its procurement process, it paid 101,000 Shillings from the same supplier, Nytil,” Mafabi addressed parliament.
Mafabi told Parliament that by 30th June 2019, the Ministry of Health had deposited 13.3 billion shillings to NMS yet the deliveries only amounted to 8.37 billion shillings.
Hon Nandala Mafabi also said that the 8.37 billion shillings could not be be verified by the Internal Auditor General due to lack of accountability and by the 30th of June 2019, 4.97 billion shillings was unaccounted for by NMS
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Mafabi also said that complaints of no uniform, wrong colours, wrong sizes were many in hospitals and units.
With the loomimg merging of government entities, Agnes Taaka, the Bugiri Woman MP said that NMS should be one of the first government entities to be merged given the inefficiencies established in the procurement process.
Kajara County MP Michael Timuzigu said that the observations show serious corruption in the country that needs to be addressed and fought seriously.