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Govt rapped for mishandling Covid crisis

Ill-prepared to handle crises: Audit Bureau

KUWAIT CITY, June 12: The State Audit Bureau has affirmed that the government does not have a complete and sound plan for managing emergencies and crises, due to which it has been issuing inappropriate decisions and instructions to manage the COVID-19 crisis and the financial and other consequences thereof, reports Al-Anba daily. The bureau highlighted this in the report it submitted to the National Assembly concerning the Cabinet’s mandate to review the expenditures of government agencies for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis during the period from March 1, 2020 to September 15, 2020. It explained that there were a number of observations, most notably the absence of a central authority to buy the agencies’ supplies such as masks, gloves, sterilization materials, etc despite the similarity of those supplies.

There is a difference in the prices of some items required for dealing with the repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis from one side to the other, despite buying them at the same time. There is also the absence of clear laws to define the mechanism and forms of contracts in cases of emergency, and the responsibilities. There has also been poor coordination among government agencies. The crisis was managed by some government agencies with individual jurisprudence. A clear and specific mechanism to monitor the number of quarantined people, workers and medical staff was absent along with a mechanism for handling government contracts during the crisis.

The spending priorities in various aspects were not determined. There was inaccuracy in estimating the needs, exaggeration in ordering materials and supplies, and failure to take into account the absorptive capacity. The State Audit Bureau indicated that non-competent bodies were assigned to provide and request basic materials and supplies for combating the COVID-19 crisis, with some parties purchasing preventive supplies from non-specialized companies and institutions.

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