Covid tenders above board – Nangombe
Asked for the exact procurement figures, the health executive director Ben Nangombe said 95% of procurement was done locally, 1% from South African suppliers, and the remainder through the United Nations Children's Fund and the embassies of foreign countries.
23 September 2020 | Local News
The health ministry says 95% of the needed goods and services during the just-ended Covid-19 state of emergency were procured locally, while admitting that normal procurement procedures were suspended during the period.
Executive director Ben Nangombe said the ministry was granted exemption from public procurement rules by the finance ministry.
He said the exemption was aimed at speeding up procurement of medical products and services needed for the country's pandemic response.
This comes as a number of local businesses recently complained that the government was bypassing them in awarding medical tenders.
They claimed that the health ministry gave preference to South African suppliers.
In response, Nangombe said: “Distributors or agents of international manufacturers are mainly considered for the supply of medical equipment and specialised services.
“Consideration is based on their ability to provide after-sales service, which includes installation, commissioning, training, maintenance, and supply of accessories and spare parts.”
Asked for the exact procurement figures, the executive director said 95% of procurement was done locally, 1% from South African suppliers, and the remainder through the United Nations Children's Fund and the embassies of foreign countries.
Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi budgeted N$727 million for the health ministry's pandemic response.
Indications are that about 88% of that amount - N$640 million - has been spent up to now, but Nangombe did not want to give an exact amount, saying that the information first had to be submitted to cabinet.
Late last month, one of Nangombe's deputies, Bertha Katjivena, indicated that about N$567 million - or 78% of the budget - had been spent by that time.
Two weeks before that, health minister Kalumbi Shangula had said that 59% of the Covid-19 budget - or N$400 million - had been spent.
According to Nangombe, 95% of the needed goods and services were procured locally, with the remainder procured through the United Nations system or from suppliers with surplus items in stock.
Besides that, the government negotiated with government agencies in several countries in procuring trade goods needed to fight the pandemic.
To ensure transparency, all procurement tenders were published on the health ministry's website, Nangombe added.
He maintained that the ministry followed a competitive selection procedure in accordance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act.