Tuesday, 25 August 2020

SUBSTANDARD COVID-19 EQUIPMENT : GOVT ACTS


GOVERNMENT has come up with a Covid-19 procurement centralised system after observing that some of its departments were buying substandard equipment.

This comes as Government is conducting a study to establish why there is a high Covid-19 infection rate among frontline workers despite infection prevention and control measures having been put in place.

Cabinet yesterday affirmed Government’s commitment to address the working conditions for health workers.

During the post-Cabinet media briefing last evening, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said to address procurement discord among Government departments, the National Pharmaceutical Company (Natpharm) will be responsible for buying Covid-19 materials for ministries. 

“Following reports of Government institutions paying different prices for similar materials and in some cases, purchasing sub-standard products, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has issued a circular centralising the procurement of all Covid-19 materials under Natpharm. Purchases of materials for internal use by departments are also covered by the directive,” she said.

Minister Mutsvangwa said Government was working to improve working conditions for all its workers and is concerned with the high Covid-19 infection rates among frontline workers.

“Accordingly, the Ministry of Health and Child Care, with support from developing partners is working on a combined fact-finding exercise, and continues to train health workers in infection prevention and control,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

She said $2,9 billion in devolution funds will only be disbursed to local authorities after they complete the requisite procurement procedures to curb abuse of funds. 

Minister Mutsvangwa said Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution will be given more power to supervise the implementation of devolution funds.

“Cabinet emphasises that the implementation of devolution is continuing and is pleased to inform the public that the devolution allocation for 2020 stands at $2,932 billion. Treasury has put in place measures to stem the abuse of funds and cash releases will be done upon completion of the requisite procurement processes by local authorities. Furthermore, provincial ministers will be empowered to monitor how the devolution funds are utilised,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

She encouraged more private commuter operators to join the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) public transport franchise system.

“Cabinet is aware that Zupco continues to provide services to commuters in urban areas and undertakes to explore measures to facilitate efficient movement of workers to and from work. Registered bus and kombi operators are encouraged to join the Zupco franchise in order to enlarge the Zupco fleet. Cabinet has directed that fuel supply to Zupco be ring fenced in order to alleviate the situation with regard to the movement of workers,” she said.

The minister also said the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has created a database to monitor schools’ preparedness to reopen in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) regulations that resulted in the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) holding Covid-19 free June examinations.  Herald

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