May 28, 2019 News
There is evidence now that at least two local printers, angered by the situation over the printing of textbooks, had complained to the Ministry of the Presidency, beginning as far back as 2017.
Both Kimoke Printery and F&H Printing Establishment raised questions about procurement, according to documents seen by Kaieteur News. It would lend to the mounting evidence that everything was not right about the Ministry of Education’s orders for text and exercise books.
It involves hundreds of millions of dollars annually being allocated by Government.
This year, almost $600M has been allocated by Government for the printing of text and exercise books.
Local printers say that since 2017, they have been getting little or no work. Rather, a significant number of orders were going overseas, including to Trinidad.
The printers had met to discuss the issue, complaining bitterly that the orders were not going to tender as is required by procurements. Rather, the orders for exercise books and some textbooks were going directly from the Ministry of Education to the Guyana National Printers Limited (GNPL), a state-owned entity.
State auditors have stepped in to launch an investigation, with personnel starting to sift through records of the ministry’s Book Distribution Unit last week.
The Audit Office would have responded directly to the public complaints that there was little evidence of established procurement procedures and that Guyana possibly did not receive value for money.
The printers are insisting they have the capacity to print both text and exercise books and they can better the prices offered by any overseas printer.
GNPL has insisted it has done nothing wrong, but there are questions whether Guyana got value for its money in the books supplied by the entity, for use in the scores of schools that Government runs.
According to correspondences seen, Kimoke Printery of La Jalousie, West Coast Demerara, wrote the then Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, on September 26th, 2017, stating that it never received one job, although it had tendered for textbooks at very competitive rates.
Kimoke questioned why a foreign company, which has no offices and pays no taxes, was given preference over locals. Kimoke asked Harmon to investigate.
Indeed, Harmon acknowledged the letter, and said he had requested a report from the Ministry of Education.
On June 6th, 2018, Kimoke wrote Harmon again indicating it was still to receive a feedback.
Kimoke Printery was then told by Minister Harmon to make contact with the Procurement Department of the Ministry of Education regarding the queries.
In October last year, F&H Printing Establishment also wrote President David Granger, complaining that in May 2017, it submitted bids for textbooks for the Ministry of Education.
However, F&H claimed, it was disqualified for not submitting a valid business registration.
F&H told the President that it found this strange, as it had already submitted these during a pre-qualification stage.
F&H complained that the Tender Administration Board gave the job to GNPL, which did not even tender, and “due to their inability”, it was sub-contracted to Trinidad – a company called Eniath’s Printing.
The President, a few days later, after receiving the letter from F&H, responded, saying that he had forwarded the letter to the Ministers of Finance and Education for attention.
President Granger said the ministries would respond.
Over the years, the Audit Office has been flagging the procurement of text and exercise books, finding evidence of poor storage and management.
GNPL itself had been facing major troubles, at one time managing to take orders for the exercise books, which are distributed from nursery to secondary schools. However, a new multi-coloured press, which it has installed is not working. Local printers said it therefore should not have been awarded any contracts to print, as it will in turn have to use third parties.
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