KUALA LUMPUR: Negotiations for the procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine will be conducted directly between the federal government and suppliers without any involvement of middlemen.
"I want to express the commitment of the government that any negotiations for the procurement of the vaccine will be made directly with the suppliers, without the involvement of any middle person," said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.
Zafrul said this during the winding-up speech on the motion to increase the allocation for the Bill for the Temporary Measures for Government Financing [Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) (Amendment)] Bill 2020.
He was responding to a question from former health minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (Pakatan Harapan–Kuala Selangor), who asked if the government could give assurances on the procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine.
On a related matter, Zafrul said the RM5 billion allocation for the vaccine would include expenditures incurred by the health sector to meet demand faced by frontliners to combat the virus.
"From the total allocation, RM3 billion is for (the procurement of) the vaccine. The balance is for the cost incurred in the health sector and to meet the needs of the frontliners (in combating the virus).
Zafrul also said RM38 billion of the total RM45 billion would address the 31 initiatives listed in Act 830 or the Bill for the Temporary Measures for Government Financing [Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19)] Bill 2020.
He also told the House that the government was seeking to increase the allocation for Temporary Measures for Government Financing [Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19)] Bill 2020 by RM20 billion, from RM45 billion to RM65 billion, as there are several more initiatives rolled out under the four economic stimulus packages that need to be implemented.
"We must remember that all the stimulus packages (rolled out by the government to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19) worth RM305 billion, apart from the RM322.5 billion, has been approved for 2021.
"In addition to the initiatives outlined in the 2021 Budget, there is (further) assistance under the economic stimulus packages (that will be implemented)," he said.
The motion to increase the allocation was subsequently passed after Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon announced that a majority of the members of Parliament had voted in favour of it, via voice vote.
Source: New Straits Times