Nurses’ Uniforms From China Disappoint Katali

An impromptu revelation in Parliament on Friday about the order of unspecified nurses and doctors’ uniforms from China, done outside the public tender process, elicited an outcry from an unimpressed Minister of Mines and Energy, Isak Katali, who rose to demand that this “be the last time uniforms are imported”.

“If this is a done deal then let it be the first and the last time. We cannot entertain this, I think we have the capacity to do it ourselves,” said Katali, adding that capacity must be built within the country so that uniforms can be manufactured locally. The National Assembly was discussing the budget allocation for the Ministry of Health and Social Services when Nudo MP Arnold Tjihuiko rose to comment on the inconsistency in badge colours as well as the different designs for uniforms worn by nurses in public hospitals. “The uniforms of nurses do not look alike because they all comprise different colours and designs,” he said.

Health minister Dr Richard Kamwi then responded by informing the House of a ministerial delegation, led by Permanent Secretary Andrew Ndishishi, that went to China to procure uniforms for nurses from a supplier in the Asian country.

Kamwi also revealed that standard tender procedures were bypassed in the sourcing of the uniforms from China because of “the urgency of the matter”. “This is a very specialised area and we need quality. As for now we will just procure the first batch of uniforms and from then we will procure the material, which will then be used to manufacture the uniforms locally,” he said.

Kamwi’s revelation met with the displeasure of his fellow parliamentarians who chastised the health ministry for importing finished goods while the unemployment rate continues to soar in the country – that currently stands at 27.4 percent.

Katali, who was very outspoken, said the health ministry should emulate the Ministry of Education that has a standing policy that all school uniforms must be manufactured locally. Kamwi nevertheless said local companies such as August 26 Holdings and Dinapama are already lining up to get their hands on the lucrative uniform contract as soon as it goes on tender. The health ministry’s spokesperson Esther Paulus, who will form part of the delegation to visit China again, said she does not know how much the transaction will cost government and indicated that no agreement has been signed yet.

“I do not know how much it will cost … we are now going back to sort out the money issue. When we come back we will have the actual amount,” said Paulus, adding that only the first batch of uniforms will be imported.

“While in China last year our embassy there brought in some companies that manufacture uniforms to present their products. When we saw their catalogue we wanted to get similar designs for us to produce our own Namibian health uniform catalogue,” said Paulus. Paulus said the Chinese company would produce the health ministry’s catalogue, adding: “One of the conditions is that we procure the first batch of uniforms from them. After that we will get the material so that local companies can tender to manufacture using the imported material.” Just last month New Era reported that Dantago clothing factory in Arandis, which has over 420 workers, temporarily closed its doors for business after the factory’s sole client, the Woolworths Group, terminated its contract with the company.

Source : New Era