The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) is staring at dead stock of COVID-19 commodities worth more than Ksh.6.2 billion.
KEMSA is now seeking a directive from the Cabinet to sell the stock at a throw away price that could see the taxpayer lose close to Ksh.2.3 billion.
At the KEMSA Embakasi warehouses, cartons containing several thousands of personal protective equipment (PPEs) of what should ideally be serving healthcare workers and hospitals in need of are gathering dust.
KEMSA, on an expenditure overdrive at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, procured overwhelmingly at exaggerated prices and now cannot find market for the items intended to keep COVID-19 at bay.
For instance, KEMSA purchased a full set of PPEs at Ksh.9000 hoping to sell at a mark up of 5%, this translating to Ksh. 9,450. However, a similar PPE in the market is currently retailing at Ksh.3,000.
“KEMSA may have good quality but these items are readily available out there cheaper… They over procured based on projections that the pandemic would would be its peak in October,” said Sabina Chege, Chair Health Committee of the National Assembly.
The National Assembly Health Committee while touring KEMSA establishments on Tuesday found out that KEMSA had procured items worth Ksh.7.1 billion and have managed to sell just about a billion shillings worth of items.
Essentially, this means the drugs agency as at now remains with stock worth Ksh.6.2 billion with nowhere to offload at their asking price
“Will the government be willing to buy from KEMSA and distribute to the counties because there is still a need… But at what price? Or are they going to be allowed to sell cheaper and incur losses,” added Sabina Chege.
KEMSA has the hurdle of unwilling counties who want the agency stripped of its monopoly to supply the devolved governments with drugs and non pharmaceuticals but to make matters worse, there are suppliers who are still owed money by the Agency.
Several top officials at KEMSA are under investigations over allegations of misappropriation of monies that may well extend into billions of shillings.
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