Kenyan taxpayers will lose up to Sh1.5 billion after it emerged that Covid-19 supplies and equipment have since expired at the cash-strapped Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) warehouses before being sold.
Kemsa acting Chief Executive John Kabuchi yesterday told Members of Parliament (MPs) that some of the Covid-19 equipment in its store cannot be sold since some of the stock had either expired or was not sellable.
The CEO revealed to the National Assembly’s Health Committee that expired stocks are estimated at Sh171.9 million while another set of stock worth Sh120.6 million were not sellable.
He also informed Committee Vice Chairman Joshua Kutuny, who was chairing the session, that Kemsa is still holding a viable stock worth Sh2.6 billion at their stores which they intend to sell by the end of the year.
“At the end of the day, we have Sh2 billion items that is available for sale. From the viable stock we project to sell stock worth Sh800 million by December 2022 if we sell at the current market price,” said Kabuchi.
Additional stock worth Sh1.2 billion have short shelf-life and are set to expire in the next six months.
He appeared before the committee alongside Kemsa board chairperson Mary Mwadime.
Kutuny raised fears of selling the viable stock, especially in the light of a government directive that lifted some restrictions, including the wearing of masks.
He said the country risk losing more money in the dead stock following the lifting of some of the Covid-19 restrictions, including wearing of face masks in public places.
“Do you think the Cabinet secretary’s move to lift some of the restrictions will put you in jeopardy?” asked Kutuny.
The officials assured the committee that the authority was pulling all the stops to sell the remaining viable stock.
They said Kemsa was already engaging county governments and public health facilities to buy some of the Personal Protective Equipment.
Mwadime said they had resorted to sell at market price to minimise losses.
“To make sure the loss is made to a minimum level, we reached out to all health facilities and the response is positive. We expect to see reduction in the short-dated stock and save the Exchequer,” she said.
The committee met the officials to deliberate the ongoing reforms at the authority that was plagued by corruption allegations.