Namibian government ends condom contract with Comex

15 July 2010

15 July 2010 | Nick Martindale

The Namibian government is seeking a new condom supplier after concerns its existing arrangement with a local provider failed to deliver value for money.

Local vendor Commodity Exchange (Comex) has been producing the condoms for the government since 2005, most recently on a rolling contract.

But pressure from Global Fund (GF) – the public-private partnership set up to prevent and treat HIV, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, which funded the campaign in Namibia – means the government has now put the contract out to tender.

GF hopes to save more than $1.75 million (£1.14 million) as a result of sourcing the condoms elsewhere, and has pledged to reinvest any savings back into “critical, life-saving services”.

Patience Musanhu, fund portfolio manager for Namibia at GF, said it had raised concerns with the Ministry of Health about the unit costs back in 2007 and a subsequent audit had found them to be high.

She said: “Global Fund’s procurement policy encourages transparency and value for money among other issues.

“During the grant negotiation it was decided that the prevailing arrangement with Comex could no longer hold as it did not conform to the policy of either the government of Namibia or Global Fund.

“The tender will be awarded to the best and most competitive supplier in terms of cost per unit. Comex is free to submit a proposal once the process is announced.”

Andrew Muhimbise, a consultant at Octopus Procurement in Uganda, said: “International aid has no history of successfully bankrolling local procurement initiatives in a sustainable manner.”

The condoms produced by Comex have been distributed free of charge by the government of Namibia in an attempt to reduce rates of HIV and AIDs.

Comex was not available for comment.

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