One day after the government announced the establishment of a Cabinet sub-committee to probe the medical supplies storage bond controversy, the head of that committee, Minister Raphael Trotman has completed his report and has recommended a review of the contract for the storage bond.
During the post cabinet press briefing this morning, Trotman said that the three year contract for lease of the new bond will be reviewed and that review will also examine the monthly cost of $12.5 million.
Additionally, the sub-committee has also recommended that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure plays a greater role in the decision making process for rental of buildings for government use.
Minister Trotman said the Minister of Health is being asked to offer a public apology over statements that he made in the National Assembly about the payment for the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation and about the new storage bond already being in operation.
Although the Minister may have misled the House on some aspects of the contract, Minister Trotman said the cabinet sub-committee is satisfied that the building has all the necessary facilities for the storage of drugs.
He explained that the government simply cannot afford the price being asked by the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation for storage when that company did not previously charge for drug storage fees under the last government.
The Minister said a recommendation is being made for the government to eventually have its own storage facility and end the rental of private buildings for drug storage.
“We interviewed both the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and the Minister and were satisfied with the answers given to the questions put,” he added.
The Minister insisted that the building is sufficiently insulated and posed an advantage since it is located within close proximity to city ports.
He also offered clarification that a security deposit was only handed over to the company in July while the building was bought back in March. He said the government had nothing to do with that purchase.
According to Trotman, it was merely a coincidence that the security deposit and sale price of the building were both $25 million.
Trotman explained that Cabinet had taken the decision to sole source the contract as a matter of urgency since the New GPC which had previously stored drugs for free was requiring payment.
He said among those recommendations are that monies owed to the New GPC Inc be paid immediately.
New GPC Inc is a supplier of drugs to the government and the Minister said a situation where a supplier was providing drugs and being paid for storage may not have been appropriate.