Over $1.4 billion was paid by the government to the New Guyana Pharmaceu-tical Corporation Limited (NGPC) last year for the procurement of drugs and medical supplies based on sole sourcing approved by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), the latest Auditor General report says.
The report for last year, which was tabled in the National Assembly on Thursday, noted that the sole sourcing of the items went against the tenets of the Procurement Act 2003, which identifies competitive bidding as the preferred method.
According to the report, “during 2009, the ministry expended amounts totalling $1.884 billion for drugs and medical supplies.” Of this amount, the report said, an amount of $1.404 billion was paid to the New GPC Ltd, after approvals were obtained from the NPTAB for contract awards.
In response, the Head of the Budget Agency acknow-ledged the finding and indicated that future contracts would be awarded on the basis of public advertisement and competitive bidding.
Meanwhile, the George-town Public Hospital Corporation also procured drugs and medical supplies at a cost of $731.024 based on awards of 13 contracts by the NPTAB, without a system of competitive bidding as required under the Procurement Act.
The manner in which the government procures drugs from the New GPC has been highlighted in previous reports by the Auditor General and the issue has been raised repeatedly by the opposition parties in the National Assembly.
The government’s continued failure to appoint a Public Procurement Com-mission, in accordance with Article 212(W) of the constitution, to oversee such transactions, has been one of the frequent criticisms.