The Ministry of Finance has disbursed Tk736 crore to purchase Oxford-invented novel coronavirus vaccine from Serum Institute of India -- which will be supplied by local drug maker Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited.
Health ministry will spend the money for 50% payment of 3 crore doses of the vaccine, and to support other expenses such as procurement of cold chain equipment and safety boxes.
Finance Division Joint Secretary Mohammad Abu Yusuf sent a letter to Health Service Division Secretary Md Abdul Mannan Monday mentioning the disbursement.
According to the letter, around Tk635.77 crore has been freed for the purchase of 3 crore doses of the vaccine including the transportation costs. Besides, finance ministry disbursed another Tk100 crore for cold chain equipment, AD syringes safety boxes, transporting the doses to vaccination centres, manpower training, monitoring, supervision and awareness campaign.
The money has been released from the Tk10,000 crore fund kept aside in this year's national budget to tackle the pandemic.
The Business Standard approached Finance Division Joint Secretary Mohammad Abu Yusuf Monday night for comment. However, he declined to say anything instantly.
The Finance Davison imposed five conditions for spending the money. It said vaccine purchase will require the approval of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) and Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase. Moreover, finalizing the bank guarantee will need the consent of the Finance Division.
According to the conditions, the bill-vouchers and expenditure reports will have to be sent to the Finance Division with certification of the appropriate authorities within a month of the purchase.
Moreover, the purchases must follow public financial regulations including the Public Procurement Act-2006 and Public Procurement Rules-2008.
Health ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Serum Institute of India Pvt Limited and Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd to get 3 crore doses of the vaccine.
The country will buy the doses in the first six months of production at $5 per dose. Beximco Pharmaceuticals will supply the vaccine to the government. It will get $1 while Serum Institute will get $4 for per shot.