PAC told Region Two never received $111.5M in drugs and medical supplies procured five years ago by Health Ministry

PAC told Region Two never received $111.5M in drugs and medical supplies procured five years ago by Health Ministry

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was today informed that approximately five years after the Region Two Regional Democratic Council (RDC) procured $210.180M in drugs and medical supplies, the Regional Administration is still to receive more than 50%, accounting for some $111.580M. 

The issue was placed under the microscope as the Region Two Regional Executive Officer (REO) Susanah Saywack, and her predecessor, former REO Dennis Jaikaran appeared before the Committee to respond to a number of issues raised in the Report of the Auditor General on the Public Accounts of Guyana for the Year 2019. 

In his report, the Auditor General explained that in 2019, $228.705M was allocated to the RDC for the procurement of drugs and medical supplies under Health Services.

Of that amount, approximately $18.5M was expended directly by the Regional Administration, while an Ministry to procure drugs and medical supplies on behalf of the Regional Administration. 

However, while the Health Ministry indicated that the entire sum of $210.190M was expended, the records revealed that only $98.594M in drugs and medical supplies were deliveries, resulting in a balance of $111.580M. 

Grilled on the issue, the current REO, Susanah Saywack, told the PAC that based on the Regional Administration’s findings, over $111.5M in drugs and medical supplies is still outstanding. 

Weighing in on the situation, the former REO Dennis Jaikaran told the PAC that the Health Ministry must account for the outstanding funds. 

“It is a process of reconciliation between the Region and the Ministry of Health. So, the REO is actually accurate…It is the Ministry of Health that has to now account for and be able to guide the region as to not only the drugs supplied but the quantity and the value, and that value would help the region to account for whatever would have been appropriated to the Ministry of Health,” Jaikaran explained. 

But the explanations provided by both Saywack and Jaikaran did not sit well with Minister of Public Infrastructure, Juan Edghill, who questioned whether the Region faced a shortage of drugs and medical supplies during that period as a result of the outstanding amount. 

“What we are dealing here is not with the $228M, we are dealing here with the $210M that was warranted t the Ministry of Health. The Region is saying they received $98M, the Auditor General is confirming that, which is less than 50% of what was warranted. There are two issues here, if you are saying the region required to service its population based on its drug list and population that is used to make up your budget of what is required is $210, and you get less than 50%, was there a shortage in the region of drugs and medical supplies in 2019? If you get less than half and there was no shortage means you over budgeted. If you get less than half and there was a shortage, there was a shortage,” Minister Edghill reasoned, as he pressed for more answers. 

In response, Saywack said the Regional Administration is working along with the Finance Secretary, Sukrishnalall Pasha, to address the issue with the Ministry of Health. 

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