Before A DISASTER MANAGEMENT Becomes A DISASTER Itself …. by : Tazeen Akhtar

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Tazeen Akhtar

02 May 2020

National Disaster Management  Authority (NDMA) is procuring hundreds of thousands of equipment of safety from the COVID-19 on direct letters of supply violating the rules of the procedure. There is no tender or competition among the bidders that raises questions about the transparency in the allocation of orders of Millions of Rupees.

Directorate of Procurement in NDMA is deciding which company to deliver what at what rates. This gives rise to suspicions of commissions and kick backs. Minimum orders are for 20 thousand in number and that with no competitive process and most often to the same companies.

Pakistan Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) binds the government departments that procuring agencies shall allow all prospective bidders to participate in procuring procedure.

When the public relations officer of NDMA approached on his whatsapp personally and also in NDMA press media group, no response or any stance was given back. The spokesperson never responds on the issue of direct supply orders whenever contacted. Director of Procurement seems to enjoy full support and trust of Chairman NDMA Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal who himself can listen the music in coming days.

This scribe has received copy of a direct letter issued by Director of Procurement Mr. Idrees Mehsood to a company  of Karachi for 20 thousand protection suits at the rate of 700 rupees per suit. The letter describes that the company is supplying direct orders already. Most of the orders are given on the recommendation of a contractor of Karachi.

It has been learnt through reliable sources that one contractor of Karachi is the front man of Director Procurement NDMA. The contractor looks for the companies that are ready to supply the orders on certain terms and conditions, agreed upon verbally.

NDMA has so far ordered approximately 400 thousand protected suits from 3 different parties.

Director Procurement rejected the offers of minimum rates in some cases. One party offered the lowest rate 650 rupees for one suit but there offer was not considered.

According to Health Ministry sources, the number of infected medical staff has crossed 400 . More than 165 doctors across the country tested positive for COVID-19, 131 paramedical and support staff as well as 41 nurses are infected. So far 3 Doctors from Dr Usama of Gilgit and Dr Javed of Peshawer and some nurses sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. This number is eye opener for the higher authorities both in civil and military that if NDMA is purchasing the equipment bypassing the rules why the doctors and other staff is not receiving it timely.

Besides these confirmed cases, more than 1,500 doctors, nurses, paramedics and those with whom they came into contact are in quarantine, and many are waiting for their test results after coming into contact with the health professionals who have already tested positive, added the official.

On 01 May 2020,  (NDMA) issued an explanation from the government news agency APP that the the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (MNSRC) can not be skeptical over the purchases of COVID-19 items by NDMA.

NDMA unnamed spokesman,  said the ministry had not expressed its reservations over the purchases . The complete details of the COVID-19 equipment purchased by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is available on its website.

The spokesman said that the details of purchased items were being updated at the website and being regularly shared with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health and Secretary Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination by Chairman NDMA.

Matter of fact is NDMA never bothered to brief or take into the confidence the officials of Health Minister that is the ultimate responsible department in case of pandemic. Health ministry never received any response from NDMA to their queries about what NDMA is procuring and where it is going.

Reliable sources claim that the dirt of violations of rules of procurement can not be hid under the carpet. Senior military authorities are taking notice of this possible connivance among the few officials and the suppliers. Moreover Health Ministry is going to take up this issue with higher authorities. The powers of the Chairman NDMA would soon be curtailed and a committee of seniors would be seeing the affairs of the disaster management authority before it itself becomes a disaster.

Later on 03 May 2020, Sunday morning, a day after the publication of above report, a very highly placed official contacted this scribe and share NDMA’s point of view.

He said that NDMA can procure anything without following the PPRA rules as NDMA Act gives us permission for that.

” Favoritism through direct letters of supply is a propaganda from those who failed to secure the contracts with NDMA for certain reasons”. The official continued.

Further he disclosed that on the contrary we have curbed the menace of corruption. One group was working on the import of equipment amounting 150 Million Dollars from out of the country. We stopped them and saved this foreign exchange.

 

 

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