Health ministry invites bids for extension, construction of bonds

Bids are expected to be soon submitted for the extension of the Ministry of Public Health’s drug bond at Diamond and construction of a storage bond in Georgetown as the ministry moves to fulfil its pledge to stop renting private bonds.

Invitations for bids for the contracts were advertised in Wednesday’s edition of the Guyana Chronicle. The ministry advised that the tenders would be opened on Tuesday October 3, 2017, at the National Procure-ment and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB).

For the construction of the Central Supply Unit (CSU) storage bond, which will be located at Lot 1 Mudflat Kingston, Georgetown, the ministry estimates the structure will cost some $2.4 million. Additionally, the extension of the Material Management Unit (MMU) storage bond at Diamond, East Bank Demerara, is estimated to cost $1.6 million.

Terrence Esseboom, who is the Personal Assistant to Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence, explained that the bids are the start of a process Lawrence had promised pertaining to the enhancing of storage capacity of the ministry and keeping the overall financial systems in check.

Following the multimillion dollar rental of the controversial Sussex Street bond from APNU supporter Larry Singh and severe public criticisms, the government said it would review the bond contract and put measures in place to build its own storage for medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.

The ministry had rented the bond from Singh for three years at the cost of a whopping $12 million plus per month.

Despite the controversy over the rental of the property, the ministry budgeted $150 million for the full year’s rent for 2017. Observers had expressed the view that the contract should have been scrapped immediately and that those monies should never have been approved

In June, Lawrence had informed that the ministry was severing rental relations with the New GPC as it aims to end its dependence on private storage space for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. Lawrence said that by the end of this year, the ministry would do the same with all other private storage suppliers.

She had stressed that the scaling down will affect “all privately owned bonds” and it is hoped that the money saved in rentals can go towards the upgrade of the ministry’s storage and other related systems.

“This year we are focusing on us being able to stock our own medications… cutting back costs and investing in the sector itself this year,” she had told Stabroek News.

“We are looking at savings whereby we can do some more work on the GPHC [Georgetown Public Hospital] bond of itself in terms of extension so that we can come out of the other rental bond. It is a work in progress…,” she said.

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