New GPC, which was purchased from Government by former President, Bharrat Jagdeo’s best friend, Dr Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop’s Queens Atlantic Investment Inc (QAII) would have been handed the lion’s share of the $37.4B that Government would have spent over the years in drugs and medical supplies.
Of that $37.4B just over $5B is earmarked for spending this year. During the recent Budget debates, Minister of Health, Dr Bheri Ramsaran responding to a question from the opposition benches, confirmed that this year New GPC will get the largest slice of that allocation.
This occurs despite New GPC being flagged over the years by the Office of the Auditor General over several discrepancies including the late supply of drugs despite advance payments.
The Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (GPC) was privatized by Government in 1999 and renamed New GPC.
This is also compounded by the fact that when New GPC gives an invoice it is assessed as a package which allows for significant overpricing on selected items in the list.
Sale and Supply
Bharrat Jagdeo took Office in August, 1999. Two months later in October, Cabinet approved the sale of 60 per cent of GPC to Ramroop’s QAII.
In 2001, Ramroop purchased another 30 per cent of the company. This was again approved by Cabinet, at a reduced price.
Two years later, Cabinet still headed by Jagdeo, approved a waiver allowing the Ministry of Health to bypass the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board, and to sole source drugs and medical supplies from New GPC.
When the pressure mounted on Government over this arrangement the Ministry of Health reviewed and modified the criteria for companies to be prequalified. The new conditions further consolidated the position of New GPC as the sole source.
Further solidifying New GPC’s run to be prequalified to supply drugs is the fact that two of the local companies vying for prequalification status are in murky waters.
Meditron Scientific Sales, according to the records, is a ‘legally inactive’ company. It has not renewed its Business Certificate which expired on February 22, last.
Telcom Solutions (Guyana) Inc, which has also submitted a bid to be considered for pre-qualified status, has not submitted its annual returns since 2010.
This would mean that the company currently runs the risk of being struck off the Registrar’s list of companies.
This would mean that the only other locally based competitor to Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop’s companies is International Pharmaceutical Agency (IPA).
The other local company that has submitted a bid is Global Healthcare Supplies Inc. which is also owned by Ramroop, in addition to the New GPC’s bid.
Under the new rules for pre-qualification, local companies that meet the criteria would be favored above overseas bidders.
Of the seven companies that have submitted bids, two are Trinidadian companies, ANSA McAL and Western Scientific Company.
Under the revised criteria for the prequalification of suppliers of drugs and medical supplies the companies that bid must demonstrate a gross turnover of $1B (US$5M) and net assets of $500M (US$2.5M).
The Ministry’s criteria said that a maximum score will be awarded to applicants which have paid $50M in corporate taxes annually.
The company with 50 or more employees, and warehousing capacity of 30,000 square feet in the city, will also gain an edge.
Ramroop, former President Bharrat Jagdeo’s best friend, is the only supplier, locally with a bond of that size.
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