United Nations Office for Project Services has been accused of recruiting foreign companies to import mosquito treated nets into Nigeria against the directive of the federal government.
In a petition sent to the National Assembly and copied the Ministers of Health and Justice, and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), one of the vendors, Rosies Textile Mills Ltd, accused UNOPS of ignoring the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the FG in order to recruit international manufacturers to import long lasting insecticide treated nets (LLIN).
In the memo signed on September 5, 2022 between the Federal Ministry of Health and UNOPS, $64,671,546.04 loan sourced from IsDB shall be used to procure locally made LLIN for four states of Bayelsa, Edo, Enugu, Kogi and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Both parties in the MOU agreed that “the goods shall be procured through solicitation. In line with the spirit of the Presidential Executive Order 003, both UNOPS and NMEP (National Malaria Elimination Programme) agree that participation of locally manufactured products is critical for sustainability and to spur local job creation, and therefore international competitive bidding will only be used for products that are not currently locally manufactured or of acceptable quality.
“LLINs shall be procured through open competitive bidding process involving both local manufacturers who have WHO and NAFDAC certification, and local suppliers who have manufacturers authorisation of WHOPES approved LLINS from local manufacturers.”
But things took a dramatic twist when despite certification by the Ministries of Trade and Investment and Health that there were local manufacturers and suppliers with manufacturers authorisation, UNOPS decided to cancel local competitive bidding it announced.
In the documents shared by the petitioner, UNOPS announced competitive bidding on Thursday, June 2, 2022 calling for “expression of interest for the supply of locally manufactured long-lasting insecticide mosquito nets” as directed by the Federal Government that the nets must be sourced locally.
The UN agent said to be qualified, “the nets are expected to be produced and packaged in Nigeria and must have both NAFDAC and WHO certification to deliver the project within 12 months.”
Rosies Textile Mills Ltd is angry that despite recommendation by the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), the World Bank and Procurement Consultant IMPACT for the project recommending it, UNOPS cancelled the bidding.
The visiting team which went round the country in 2022 wrote in its reports to the health ministry, UNOPS and other stakeholders for the project that, “Rosies Textiles Mills, Aba, Abia State, having the required experience and capacity to manufacture and finish/package LLIN locally with the history of timely execution of the large quantities of LLIN in the past, and having been found to possess the capacity for manufacturing 165,000 nets per day with the potential to scale-up should be considered for local patronage pursuant to Executive Order (EO 003).”
The team further highlighted that, “Since Rosies Textile Mills Limited is the only identified local WHO approved and NAFDAC registered LLIN manufacturers, other local suppliers can get manufacturer’s authorisation from the company to enable them qualify for the participation in the exercise for the procurement of LLIN in Nigeria.”
But the company is accusing UNOPS of blackmailing it that it teamed up with two other local suppliers – Danyakubu Global Services Ltd – and Resizar International Co. Ltd it gave manufacturers authorisation to and so flouted the rules.
It responded to the query of collusion to UNOPS saying the terms of the tender which UNOPS published showed that “LLINs shall be procured through national open competitive bidding process involving both local manufacturers who have WHO and NAFDAC certification and local suppliers who have manufacturers authorisation of distributorship of WHOPES approved LLINs from local manufacturers.”