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NMS, Ministry of Health clash on procurement of vaccines

NMS and MOH face queries in parliament committee on vaccines purchase and supply

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Medical Stores (NMS) has appealed to members of Parliament to address a concern of conflict between the Ministry of Health and NDA on procurement of vaccines and other supplies.

The NMS General Manager Moses Kamabare appeared before the 40-member Parliament Taskforce monitoring the COVID-19 intervention on Friday to answer to questions of how much money they got in relation to procurements towards COVID-19 supplies.

The committee led by Bugweri county MP Abdu Katuntu was set up by Deputy Speaker Anita Annet Among to do an oversight role on Government’s COVID-19 intervention.

When asked by the committee to make a presentation, Kamabare who appeared alongside Finance Minister Matia Kasaija revealed that although they have a vote as NMS, and that their mandate is to procure, stores & distribute essential medicines and medical supplies to all public health facilities in the country, the Ministry of health has been taking over this role.

Kamabare said that this has led to delays where sometimes they have to wait for the Health Ministry to procure, before they can supply. He says although they are meant to make requests for money, most cases they have to wait for the Ministry of Health.

He says that this is making their work hard since Ministry of Health gets the money, has to account for it, but they have to purchase the products.

Kamabare gave an example saying that although 560 billion was allocated for Vaccine procurement for this financial year, they only have 80 billion shillings with the rest remaining at the Ministry of Health.

This led the taskforce chair Abdu Katuntu to ask the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija on who is supposed to get the money to procure medical supplies.

Kasaija said that any of the two, Ministry of Health can request for money for procurement, as long as they purchase the supplies. He says if it is a challenge NMS should talk to the Ministry of Finance, but members rejected this. Kasaija says that the Ministry can only get the money for entities under it with no votes.

Hope Grania Nakazibwe, the Mubende Woman MP said that the issue of who is responsible for purchasing supply needs to be addressed. She says the Ministry of Finance appeared to avoid most of the questions.

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