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MINISTRY OF HEALTH SPENT N20,000 PER FACE MASK.

Civic Hive, a non-governmental organisation from BudgIT, has described the amount spent by the Federal Ministry of Health to procure face masks as alarming.

It alleged that the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, especially face masks, carried out by the Federal Ministry of Health, was questionable as the prices quoted were outrageous.

It disclosed that from the information it obtained as of August 1st 2020, from the Nigeria Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO), the Ministry spent a total of N37m to procure 1,808 pieces of disposable face masks. In a series of tweets via its official Twitter handle, the Civic Hive stated that: “The Ministry of Health spent N37.06m on just 1,808 pieces of ordinary face masks. This brings the cost of a single mask to approximately N20, 467. This is ridiculously expensive!

“A single entity by the name Marvellous Mike Press Limited was awarded 15 out of the 29 contracts at the Federal Ministry of Health. This amounted to a sum of N444.28m.”

Speaking with The Nation, The Manager of Civic Hive, Iyanuoluwa Bolarinwa, said, “We sat down and checked the procurement site. There is a particular portal on the site that carries the emergency COVID-19 contract. We looked at it. We have been doing advocacy on how much states have spent and how much ministries are spending to do their procurement and also on the major things they have been doing concerning the whole pandemic.

“We saw that the Federal Government has released how much they have spent so far on all the contracts they have done and they also put where the funding came from for each ministry.

“For each ministry, all the things they did were itemised. What we did was we looked at all the items and we picked out all the things that were not looking so good. When I say ‘not looking so good’, it doesn’t necessarily mean that what they did was totally bad, but we were just looking at it from the angle of citizens and from what is obtainable in the market.

“We picked out 10 things that caught our attention. We saw that these 10 things were looking so exorbitant for the prices that they have been quoted. Also, we looked at the modalities of how the contracts were carried out. Out of all the projects that the Ministry of Health was in charge of, they gave 15 out of 29 to a particular company called Marvelous Mike Printing Press Limited. The total amount of contracts awarded to that company was N444 million. Is it only that company that knows how to do all of these things? Why is that company the only one they were awarded the contracts to? That got our attention for the Ministry of Health.

“N37 million was used to procure 1,808 pieces of face masks. By the time we divided the number of face masks procured with the amount that was used, totally it was almost N20, 000 per face mask. How will you say that you spent N20, 000 to procure disposable face masks?”

In a response via the Federal Ministry of Health’s WhatsApp platform for journalists, the Director of Information, Media and Publicity, Olujimi Oyetomi, said, “Don’t let us reduce our noble profession of journalism to playing mischief. I will not be surprised if you come up with nothing truthful about the so-called expose. You should be able to know fake news.

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