Minister acknowledges delay in procurement process

July 11, 2024 12:54 pm

Minister for Health Dr. Atonio Lalabalavu (left), Independent Member of Parliament Premila Kumar

Minister for Health Dr. Atonio Lalabalavu has acknowledged ongoing delays in the procurement and tendering process for specialized medical equipment.

This admission came in response to Independent Member of Parliament Premila Kumar, who questioned the underutilization of funds allocated for the procurement and purchasing of specialized medical equipment for urban and sub-divisional hospitals, health centers, and nursing stations.

Dr. Lalabalavu stated that they are collaborating with Fiji Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Services to find ways to expedite the process of bringing equipment into Fiji.

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The independent member says if the funds are not utilized that means the services are not delivered to Fijians.

“Specialized medical equipment is so important for diagnostics. Last year the funds were given but it was not fully utilized. The utilization rate was very low.”

Minister for Health Dr Atonio Lalabalavu says the underutilization of funds is nothing new.

“It’s been there from the previous government until now. It’s to do with the procurement, tender and overall processes. It is an issues which delays equipment coming over.”

Opposition Leader Inia Seruiratu has suggested the Ministry not to involve junior officers in the preparation of the documents for the procurement process.

He adds that this leads to the delay in the implementation and the procurement process.