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Malawi’s Health minister Khumbize Chiponda challenged to cancel dubious MK1.6bn ambulances deal with Zambian firm

Public notice ministry of heath ambulances deal

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda has been challenged into intervene on reports that the ministry dubiously awarded Zambian firm Grandview International with MK1.6bn ambulances deal.

Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) on Friday, September 11, 2020 penned the minister Chiponda to cancel the deal of awarding a Zambian firm.

CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa says, “My institution is asking you in your capacity as the Minister of Health to consider pending this transaction in the spirit of promoting local industry which in turn spurs economic development, a decision that will later translate into creation of the much awaited 1 million jobs; which is a flagship promise of the Tonse Alliance government under President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera.

“We are looking forward to hearing from you madam, on our humble appeal within 5 (five) working days from the date this appeal has been delivered and receipted at your office”.  

Below is CDEDI letter to Minister Chiponda:

ATT: HON. KHUMBIZIE KANDODO CHIPONDA

Dear Madam,

RE: APPEAL FOR CONSIDERATION OF INDEGENEOUS BUSINESS PEOPLE WHEN AWARDING BUSINESS CONTRACTS  

The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) writes to bring to your attention an advert that appeared in The Nation newspaper dated Thursday, September 10, 2020 under the title NOTIFICATION OF INTENTION TO AWARD A CONTRACT. The notice indicates that the Ministry of Health intends to award a contract to Supply and Deliver 35 Ambulances (Lot.1) to a successful bidder by the name Grandview International Limited, whose address is Reliance House, Plot No. 35374, Thabo Mbeki Road, Lusaka Zambia.

Right at the onset, CDEDI would like to applaud your ministry’s technical staff and indeed the Plant and Vehicle Hire Organisation (PVHO) staff who worked so tirelessly in order to ensure that a successful bidder is identified.

Kindly receive our very sincere appreciation on behalf of all well-meaning Malawians.

CDEDI’s independent investigations have revealed that Grandview International Limited is close to clinching the deal.

CDEDI further applauds your ministry, madam, for being transparent by publishing the above stated information as per the requirement of the laws that guide public procurement processes.

Take note Hon. Minister that CDEDI is aware that all bids received are evaluated technically to ascertain compliance with technical specifications and that all those bids that meet minimum technical specifications proceed to another level, up until the last stage which is financial evaluation is considered. We would like to believe that such processes were done diligently in compliance with bidding rules and regulations.

At this juncture, CDEDI would like to draw your attention Madam to a Circular from the Director General, Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) Ref. No. PPDA/01/22 dated 1st July 2019 addressed to all Principal Secretaries, Chief Executives of Parastatal organisations under the headline APPLICATION OF SECTION 44 (10) OF THE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT AND DISPOSAL OF PUBLIC ASSETS ACT (2017) which states that a procuring entity shall ensure prioritization of all bids submitted to give preference to 60 percent indigenous Malawians and 40 percent others for national competitive bidding. In a layman’s point of view, this guidance was given by the PPDA in the spirit of empowering local businesses in the country.

Secondly, we, at CDEDI are also aware that bids are valued in consideration of capacity, past experience, financial muscle and the bidder’s reputation and history. It is against this background that CDEDI on behalf of all patriotic citizens of this country do not want to rush into making hasty conclusions, hence our resolve to write in order to get it from the horse’s mouth if at all the above stated considerations were taken into account before settling for the successful bidder.

CDEDI’s appeal on the matter, therefore, is as follows:

  1. Our independent investigations have shown that some local bidders were successful in all the aspects such as technical expertise, capacity, etc, except that of pricing. CDEDI is of the view that issues of pricing are negotiable and that such local bidders can surely be open to further discussions on the same;
  2. CDEDI is appealing to the Ministry of Health to consider the PPDA’s circular on the prioritisation of local businesses when it comes to awarding contracts. We believe this appeal is also in line with the Tonse Alliance government’s philosophy of wealth and job creation. We further believe that such a contract has the potential of creating wealth and jobs for a lot of Malawians because it will help the local bidders’ businesses to grow, a development that will result into job creation for a lot of Malawians;
  3.  Awarding the contract to a local bidder will make it easy for the ministry to hold the bidder to account in the event that something goes wrong with the supply of the goods and services, because the supplier if from within the country;
  4. CDEDI is not satisfied with the investigations that have been done by the procurement team at the ministry, especially with the Grandview International Limited, which is a foreign company based in Zambia. You may recall Hon. Minister, that not long-ago Malawi lost billions of taxpayers’ money after a decision was made to procure maize with the help of another foreign company in Zambia, a deal which went totally wrong. Surely, Malawi cannot afford to be beaten twice. It is high time the country learnt some lessons from the corrected mistakes that were made in the past, based on the experience of the ‘Maize gate’ scandal which is still fresh in Malawians’ memories;  

It is for this reason that Malawians who are taxpayers, and CDEDI as an advocacy institution feel duty bound to seek clarification from you as a duty bearer.

Lastly, but not the least, CDEDI is asking you in your capacity as the Minister of Health to consider pending this transaction in the spirit of promoting local industry which in turn spurs economic development, a decision that will later translate into creation of the much awaited 1 million jobs; which is a flagship promise of the Tonse Alliance government under President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera.

We are looking forward to hearing from you madam, on our humble appeal within 5 (five) working days from the date this appeal has been delivered and receipted at your office.  

Yours Faithfully,

Sylvester Namiwa

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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