August 2014 BusinessDaily; Parliament has warned the Health ministry against awarding the Sh34 billion tender for leasing of medical equipment for two hospitals in each county before reaching an agreement on the cost of the kit.
The Health committee directed Cabinet secretary James Macharia to provide details on the costing of the kits and freeze the tender, whose bids are to be opened on September 8 and the contracts awarded on November 1.
The ministry intends to issue a 10 year contract to private firms, including multinational companies such as Philips, Toshiba and Siemens to provide medical equipment to 94 Level 4 and 5 hospitals in first phase of the project.
Each of the 47 counties will have two hospitals equipped and managed by private firms.
The tender, which was first advertised on June 6 was cancelled eight days later in what Mr Kamau said was to facilitate further review of specifications to ensure wider participation by prospective vendors under the Managed Equipment Service arrangement.
The tender was re-advertised on July 11 and the bid submission period extended from August 8 to September 8 following numerous representations from interested bidders.
The committee, chaired by Rachael Nyamai (Kitui South) raised issues regarding who between the government and the Medical Equipment Service (MES) providers will foot the bill for associated consumables.
The committee demanded answers as to how the ministry can lease needles, scissors and bandages among other equipment.
Last year, the ministry was allocated Sh1 billion for leasing of the equipment which Mr Macharia said was diverted to pay pending bills amounting to Sh1.9 billion.
The Treasury has allocated Sh3 billion this year for the leasing plan, which will be funded fully by the national government despite health being a devolved function.
Under the leasing plan, the government will pay the providers annual fees over the 10 year period upon which the equipment will be retired by the kit owners. This mode of acquiring medical equipment saves the government huge upfront costs in purchase and maintenance fees.
Mr Stephen Mule (Matungulu) said the project could turn out to be a scandal if Parliament is not fully involved.