Procurement of medical supplies from China uncertain

Gajendra Basnet

May 5, 2020

5 MIN READ

Procurement of medical supplies from China uncertain

Medical equipment brought from China to fight the coronavirus pandemic. (File Photo)

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KATHMANDU: New cases of coronavirus infection appearing after 40-42 days of lockdown hint that the real reason behind fewer cases in Nepal is because of the lack of proper testing devices and the slackness in executing the tests.

The slow response of the government in the procurement of the test kits is alarming.

Conversation between President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are evidence that the two countries enjoy cordial relationship, particularly at the head of the state level.

The rush of appointing Nepal’s ambassador to China and the Chinese ambassador Hou Yanqi’s hectic meetings with Nepal Communist Party leaders are noticeable.

However, the slackness in the procurement of the most essential goods has drawn criticism as both the government and the Nepal Army have failed to act on time.

Nepal government has already handed over nearly Rs 2 billion to China on April 20 for the procurement of the essential health supplies.

However, the delay in the procurement process has raised eye-brows. First, it was delayed due to May Day, then the Youth Day on the 4th of May. However, no concrete efforts to bring in the supplies have been made till today.

No other countries, except China have been able to produce and distribute such materials in immense quantity. Besides, Guangzhou has been designated as the center to dispatch the goods and items worldwide. Guangzhou looks like a fish market these days.

The Chinese government has granted several holidays as the Chinese New Year celebration was disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

However, China has been witnessing numerous problems. In a way, the world is in lockdown due to COVID-19.

Every country is in dire need of health materials. No other countries, except China have been able to produce and distribute such materials in immense quantity. Besides, Guangzhou has been designated as the center to dispatch the goods and items worldwide. Guangzhou looks like a fish market these days.

All the planes seem competing to land and take those goods back to the destinations. The planes can be seen queuing to land and take off.

When American planes are struggling first to get access to the goods on land and later to fly back in the sky, the condition of the small countries like Nepal is sure to be pitiable.

The company has already received US$372.5 thousand as the payment for those wide-body flights. Likewise, US$203.71 thousand have been paid for vehicular transport afterward.

After noticing heavy traffic for the export of health materials from Guangzhou, the Chinese government has been preparing to endorse new laws for its management.

Although the goods are said to be coming under the Nepali Army (NA), surprisingly, the headquarters do not have much idea about the modality of the procurement.

Interestingly, the government decided to import the medical stuff from China via the wide-body planes of the Nepal Airlines Corporation, but the Himalayan Airlines, a private airline, is making the flight to bring those materials.

Even though the NA is supposed to bring those materials, the NA headquarters do not have much idea about how it’s being carried out.

Moreover, the military hardly asks the government about the procedure. The story of the goods imported by private sectors is also interesting.

Some business firms have obtained more than 25,000 extra RDT kits – much more than the number that they were supposed to import.

These goods were imported by the controversial OMNI Company. The government has been pressurizing the NGOs to purchase those RDT kits.

The Province governments are complaining that they have not received enough RDT kits while the federal government is asking NGOs to purchase those kits from the OMNI Group.

Provided the materials that the NA is supposed to import through G2G arrive in the capital on time, NA would dispatch those goods to all provinces instantly.

However, they are yet to arrive. Interestingly, goods arrive in 24 hours when private business firms import the stuff. However, the goods to be imported in the NA’s initiation do not arrive even after three weeks of payment because of which the country has insufficient test kits.

The amnesty provided to the ‘fraud’ group and the government’s initiation to get the materials of such groups sold makes one wonder whether the government is trying to applaud OMNI as successful importer by making others think what NA failed to do was done by OMNI; hence, OMNI deserves appreciation!

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