Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) has justified its decision to buy 10 new vehicles for its managers, six operational vehicles and five distribution vans in a K830 million transaction.
The development comes at a time when the institution is struggling to pay off a debt of K13 billion to some of its suppliers. On the other hand, the trust is owed about K12 billion by its debtors.
CMST spokesperson Herbert Chandilanga confirmed the development in response to a questionnaire.
“In the financial year 2016/2017, the trust budgeted for and duly obtained approval for procurement of 10 saloon motor vehicles [Toyota Corollas] for managers [at K250 million], six pool motor vehicles [at K290 million] for office operations and five new distribution trucks (at K290 million) to replace some on the aged fleet,” he said.
Commenting on the issue, Parliamentary Committee on Health chairperson Juliana Lunguzi backed CMST, saying as long as all procurement procedures are followed, there is no need to raise alarm.
In an interview Lunguzi observed that logistics is one of the major roles of CMST and, therefore, the purchase of the vehicles would improve its efficiency.
According to Chandilanga, the aged fleet has been expensive to maintain, hence the need to replace and reduce on running costs.
He observed that since its establishment as a trust, CMST only procured five motor vehicles in 2012 and has, therefore, been relying on aged ones which were inherited from the then Central Medical Stores (CMS).
“For managers, it is a stipulation in the conditions of service. Therefore, it is enforceable, yet the managers have had no vehicles for the five years they have been with CMST. For the distribution and other motor vehicles for operations, the current ones were inherited from the predecessor [CMS] in 2010 and have outlived either their set mileage or years for replacement.
“You may also wish to appreciate that the strain of use on the vehicles has rendered the vehicles uneconomic to maintain. The replacement is also appropriate in accordance with the institution’s Asset Management and Disposal Policy,” said Chandilanga.