KAMPALA – Legislators on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Friday, August 23, questioned officials from the Ministry of Health over the UGX4.5 billion that was sent to the National Medical Stores (NMS) under unclear circumstances to procure uniforms for health workers and medical stationery.
Led by the Health Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Diana Atwine the officials had appeared before the committee to respond to responses raised in the 2017/2018 financial year where auditors queried circumstances under which funds were disbursed to NMS to cater for procurement of uniforms and stationery which was done under the ministry’s budget for Monitoring, Supervision and Evaluation of Health Systems.
The lawmakers tasked the Health Ministry to explain when the purchase of uniforms started and the procurement plan that was used to acquire the said items.
Atwine at first informed the Committee that the Ministry did not have the required personnel to handle the said procurement and that is the reason they asked NMS to assist them with the purchase.
When asked how the Ministry reached the UGX4.5Bn and where the money was obtained from given the fact that no budget provision was allocated in the Ministry’s budget, Atiwne informed the committee that the money was deducted from the different items in the budget before appropriation was since there was no dedicated fund to purchase uniforms.
Moses Kamabare, Executive Director NMS when questioned on the matter said that the procurement of these uniforms was done under restricted bidding but only one company out of the four showed interest and that’s how the contract was handed to them.
During the probe, it was discovered that NMS contracted Nytil Company Limited to supply the uniforms and further scrutiny by the Committee unearthed that NMS spent UGX5 billion on uniforms, UGX3Bn for productive gear and UGX2 billion for monitoring and evaluation all unaccounted for.