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K13 billion undelivered tenders choke Central Medical Stores Trust

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At the height of complaints of poor service delivery in the country’s public hospitals, the Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) is yet to get medical equipment and supplies valued at about K13 billion, months after a no objection order was granted by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA).

PPDA Director General Edington Chilapondwa disclosed this when he appeared before members of the Parliamentary Committee on Health Wednesday.

Led by chairperson Mathews Ngwale, committee members summoned Chilapondwa and team following complaints from CMST and the Ministry of Health about delayed procurement approvals by the authority, thereby affecting healthcare service delivery in the country.

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While admitting that PPDA faces challenges that sometimes derail the procurement system in government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) including CMST, Chilapondwa faulted the supply system used by the latter.

For instance, he said, as of April 2022, the authority approved contracts worth about K13 billion for the purchase of medical equipment and drug supplies but only K5.4 billion worth of items have been delivered, representing 41 percent.

“This was meant to have all the medical supplies and equipment in public hospitals. In as much as we may have our own challenges at PPDA, I think the supply market is a huge challenge also.

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“To have 59 percent of an approved tender not yet delivered to the Government of Malawi should be an issue of concern,” Chilapondwa said.

He then disclosed that CMST gave the authority Emergency Single Source Tenders amounting to K6.2 billion which were approved but only supplies worth K1.1 billion were delivered, representing 18 percent delivery rate of the approved procurements.

When contacted, Head of Communication at CMST Hebert Chandilanga refused to comment.

A source privy to the CMST, however, said global logistical and economic trends were bearing on suppliers’ delivery rates.

Ngwale challenged the government to address problems besetting PPDA.

“They have explained to us why things were not happening in the manner they should and proposed solutions. We have understood their limitations and we hope to see improvements in all those areas,” he said.

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