Dec 14, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – In 2020, Guyana’s Government paid for supplies valued $1.615 billion, but up to when Auditor General (AG), Deodat Sharma and his team were making a review of the government spending for the fiscal year, the items were still undelivered.
The AG’s 2020 report noted that $1.615 billion were paid for the items to be delivered to the Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Home Affairs and Regions №.7 and 1, but the items remain undelivered.
According to the AG’s report, of the $1.615 billion, the Ministry of Health (MoH) had $1.568 billion of drugs and medical supplies paid for, but which had not yet been received.
The report noted that the non- delivery of items can have a serious impact on the Health Ministry’s ability to meet the needs of our citizens.
“Only $551.819M of the $1.568 billion advanced to suppliers was covered by bank guarantees. As such, should the suppliers default on the supply of goods, the Ministry could encounter difficulties recovering the difference of $1.016 billion,” the report outlined.
The 2020 reports of massive amounts of undelivered medical supplies follow the 2018 account of a similar occurrence.
In 2018, the Public Accounts Committee, (PAC) had highlighted problems with the award of contracts, and the distribution of drugs and medical supplies by the Ministry of Health.
According to the PAC, several of the issues, which were highlighted in the 2015 Auditor General report, remain unresolved. In some cases, drugs and medical supplies purchased are still to be delivered.
Back then, Permanent Secretary, (PS), of the MoH Collette Adams noted that the Ministry had responded to queries about delivery of drugs and medical supplies dating back to 2015 in the Auditor General’s 2017 report. Adams shared that some of the cheques are in the process of being disbursed.
“What happens in some cases, there is a delivery schedule, so the drugs or supplies don’t come all at once. Therefore, the cheques remain on hand to be released to the suppliers over a period of time that the deliveries are made.
Adams noted, too, that some of the information contained in the PAC need to be updated.
The report should have included a response because the Ministry would have provided it since 2017. But what happens is the information from the previous reports keeps reappearing in the document each year, so it appears as though the Ministry has not taken any action or provided an explanation. That is not the case, the Ministry official insisted.
Meanwhile, in its response to the queries contained in the 2017 AG report, the Health Ministry explained that drugs and medical supplies valued at $12.352 M were delivered during 2018. The sum of $25.982 M is still to be delivered.
In the report, the Ministry admitted that the balance should have been remitted to the Consolidated Fund and the adjustment made to the book and accounts records.
In addition to the non-delivery of items, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony had reported earlier this year that $1.1 billion in expired medical, laboratory, and diagnostic supplies have been dumped following the completion of an audit of the medical supplies sent to all the administrative regions.
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