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Scrutiny As Facemask Tender Raises Eyebrows

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
Mthimkhulu PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
The Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Dumezweni Mthimkhulu has revealed to Parliament that a tender won by Moffat Group for face masks was subjected to a competitive bidding process.

This came after the leader of Opposition, Dumelang Saleshando filed an urgent question without notice to Parliament demanding to know if the ministry has issued a purchase order to Moffat Group (Pty) Ltd for the purchase of disposable face masks.

Saleshando also wanted to know if the tender award was subjected to a competitive bidding procurement process, why the government did not procure the masks from the manufacturer, the total quantities ordered; the price charged as well as the delivery time for the order; how they established that the price charged is reflective of the market value; and if they are willing to state the full details of the coronavirus (COVID-19) related purchases through private businesses for public scrutiny monthly to avoid possible corruption.

When answering the question, Mthimkhulu said: “A total of 38 citizen companies identified from the database compiled by our COVID-19 Procurement Unit were invited to bid for the supply and delivery of Personal Protective Equipment, which is inclusive of disposable three-ply face masks. The list of which is attached. Out of the 38 companies invited, 32 responded and these included Moffat Group.

The masks in question were procured

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in the following quantities: 20,000 packages of 100 each of tie strips disposable masks thus making P2 million; and 20,000 packets of 100 each of elastic ear loops disposable masks thus making P2 million. The total quantity to be delivered was therefore P4 million disposable face masks.”

The minister said it should be noted that the procurement was done following Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) Circular No. 4 of 2020 (Emergency Procurement).

He said the arrangement where they procure through citizen companies was made in such a way that it would empower and grow their citizen-owned entities.

In addition, the minister said it is important to note that as of now, there are no disposable masks manufacturers in Botswana.

“I have already indicated, the total quantities ordered was P4 million-worth of disposable face masks at a rate of P4.95 each.

The items were ordered on February 5, 2021, and delivered on February 26, 2021. The bidder was issued with a Government Purchase Order and expected to deliver within 21 days.

The Company started delivering from February 22, 2021, until the final delivery, which was done on February 26, 2021,” Mthimkhulu said.



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