The state-owned Guyana National Printers Limited (GNPL) is continuing to bypass and ignore local printers.
In its latest case, the company ordered another container of books–this time chequered lines ones from Trinidad.
Local printeries are again complaining bitterly of being sidelined and not knowing about the orders from the Ministry of Education. Local printers have the capacity to print.
Under arrangements, for a couple of years now, the orders from the Education Ministry for text and exercise books have been going to the GNPL.
The Ministry was also directly ordering copyrighted text books from printers overseas.
The idea was for GNPL, which had fallen by the wayside, to rebuild its capacity as a state company.
However, despite investing in new equipment, the printery was unable to meet demands. Up came the local printeries who complained that they were not being informed.
Under the laws, GNPL and other state entities and ministries have to advertise for goods and services.
This is to ensure that the contracts that are awarded are done in a transparent manner in accordance with proper procurement procedures and in order to ensure the people of Guyana receive value for their tax dollars.
The matter has been brought to the attention of the Ministry of the Presidency.
The Ministry of Education had defended itself by saying it has placed orders with GNPL and with no other entities.
This week, despite all of the complaints, GNPL has remained clearly unperturbed.
There are indications that yet another container has landed on a city wharf.
GNPL has been quiet and not saying anything to the printers.
According to the 20-foot container shipment, the GNPL has ordered over 760 packages of chequered lines books– reportedly over one million copies.
The books were described as ones that had the Kaieteur Falls emblazoned on the front cover.
They were ordered on October 23, more than a week after printeries complained again of being sidelined. They landed earlier this week.
The printery in Trinidad is John Dickinson and Co (West Indies) Limited.
A Ministry of Education spokesperson last week had this to say: “Earlier in the year, both the Ministry of Education and Guyana National Printers Limited addressed this issue. The Ministry’s position remains the same as at the last point, we addressed this issue.”
Earlier this year, printeries complained that the Ministry of Education and the GNPL had reduced the number of book contracts that they were benefitting from.
It was later disclosed that books, including exercise books, were being ordered from Trinidad when the printing could be done cheaper in Guyana.
There was little evidence that printeries were aware of the contracts.
The Ministry of Education later said it had contracted the GNPL, a state company, when it comes to order exercise and textbooks.
Annually, more than half a billion dollars in contracts are being awarded.
The issue had engaged the attention of the Audit Office of Guyana which is carrying out a major investigation now.
Since then, a number of persons have come forward fingering top officials in what they say is a multi-million-dollar scam involving the ordering of both text and exercise books.
GNPL which had been suffering equipment problems was granted funding for equipment after President David Granger visited the La Penitence operations in 2016.
However, despite new equipment, GNPL continued to face internal problems and was forced to sub-contract its orders.
“This is the other problem. GNPL is acting as a middleman and we the people of Guyana is paying more when we should be getting value for our money. This is what happens when you don’t disrespect your own people.”
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