…was done without informing stakeholders – IPA
Chief Executive Officer of International Pharmaceutical Agency Guyana Inc (IPA), Lloyd Singh, is alleging that the Ministry of Health changed the criteria for drug supplies after it had already invited companies to apply for a pre-qualification status.
This information is documented in a motion filed by Singh in the High Court, to reverse the decision of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board, which decided that based on the revised criteria, the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (GPC) will be the sole prequalified supplier until 2016.
Singh in his petition to the court noted that on 26th November last, the Ministry of Health advertised in the Guyana Chronicle, invitation for companies to submit tenders to be prequalified for the supply and delivery of pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies and consumables for the period 2014 to 2016.
According to Singh, the purported revised evaluation criteria appeared for the first time among the bidding documents some time after the advertisement was published.
He said that the renewed criteria introduced for the first time a new system of evaluation criteria with a point system and some mandatory provisions which, “arbitrarily and dramatically altered the previous evaluation criteria without discussions with the stakeholders and without notice to the applicant (IPA) and other suppliers.”
Under the contentious revised criteria, bidders had to demonstrate a gross annual turnover of US$5M and net assets of US$2.5M.
Another criterion was that maximum score was to be awarded to applicants who would have paid $50M in Corporate taxes, annually.
Additionally, the company that has 50 or more employees, and warehousing capacity of 30,000 square feet in the city, will also gain an edge.
Singh also lamented the fact that despite the invitation being published in November 26, it was not until 20 days later in December that the company was informed of the list of required items to be supplied.
At the time of the announcement of the revised criteria, many stakeholders had been critical of the Ministry saying that they were tailored to suit the New GPC.
New GPC is owned by Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop who happens to be the best friend of former President, Bharrat Jagdeo.
That company has been supplying the bulk of the drugs to Government for the past 15 years, ever since it was acquired by Ramroop in 1999.
Leader of the Political Opposition, Brigadier (Rtd) David Granger, is on record castigating the decision by the Ministry, saying it created a situation where rivals of New GPC would not be able to meet the criteria.
Granger said that what the Ministry has done is to devise tailor-made criteria which are meant to negate other competitors so that New GPC will be used as the sole supplier of drugs.
In July last, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, announced that the Tender Board found New GPC to be the only of the seven companies, which had applied, to have met all of the criteria.
Ansa Mcal was the first of the other companies to publicly lament the decision in favour of New GPC saying evaluators did not even visit its facilities.
With billions of taxpayers’ dollars at stake, independent suppliers and the Opposition have time and again been accusing Government of favouring New GPC, a company whose principal, Bobby Ramroop, shares close ties with former President Jagdeo.
The company has been benefiting from billions of taxpayers’ dollars annually, controlling supplies of up to 80 per cent of the drugs purchased by the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and the Ministry of Health.
New GPC has been a feature in the Auditor General’s report over the years with several instances focused on multi-million-dollar deficiencies in the procurement and supply of drugs to Government. The purchase of drugs this year is expected to surpass US$25M.
The purchases have been a major source of contention between Government and the Opposition for years now because of the seeming close relationship between its main principal and the Administration.