The Operation Wealth Creation(OWC) has denied any wrongdoing in the procurement and supply of Covid relief food.
Quoting the Auditor General’s report, it was a few weeks ago reported that OWC was among the 118 individuals and organisations that supplied relief food including beans and posho during the first lockdown last year.
It was reported that OWC supplied 4000 metric tons of maize at shs10 billion and 1800 metric tons of beans at shs8.1 billion and was consequently reported that the total amount was shs81.1 billion.
A section of members of the public also questioned how OWC got the deal.
Addressing journalists on Thursday at their offices, Operation Wealth Creation Director in charge of operations, Sylvia Owori said the bid to supply the relief food was got through the rightful channels noting that they came in after one of the initial suppliers, Mandela Millers failed to meet the required standards as stated by the Office of the Prime Minister.
“Operation Wealth Creation in response to the crisis being faced by the country intervened by tapping into its network of over two million individual small household farmers. We sourced and procured food items including 1.8 million kilograms of beans at a cost of shs8.1billion and maize flour at a cost of shs10 billion,” Owori said.
“Therefore, the total amount spent on the procurement of the food items came to shs18.1 billion and not shs81.1 billion as has been falsely claimed by some media houses.”
Following the revelations by the Auditor General’s report that Operation Wealth Creation which doesn’t deal in food products supplied food to the Office of the Prime Minister, many queried the move.
Many have since wondered how OWC that that didn’t have food at the time and was only going to look for it won the tender to supply to government.
Speaking on Thursday, Sylvia Owori explained that they came in to save the situation after one of the suppliers failed on the quality test.
“We came in to save the situation but under normal circumstances, we are not allowed to supply anything to the government. This was the first time to reach out to farmers. It was the first time there was no middle man. We went directly to farmers. We responded to a crisis by utilizing our wide network of coordinated and mobilized agro-processors whom we used to source for the dry rations that the government sought to give out during lockdown,” she noted.
Put to task to explain how Operation Wealth Creation that doesn’t deal in agriculture produce was able to pull off the deal, Owori said they tapped into their countrywide network which has over two million farmers.
“This was a special procurement where they(OPM) called upon most of the suppliers in the system but we were not part of this tendering exercise in the first place. We have been supplying seeds throughout the country and we, therefore, tapped into this network of farmers from whom we got the produce. It was during the lockdown and it was not easy to get supplies from wholesalers. Therefore, we approached the farmers, they accepted to give us produce on credit and money came later.”
Whereas many have accused Operation Wealth Creation of making a killing out of the deal by inflating prices, Sylvia Owori denied the same saying whereas they bought posho at shs2400 per kilogram, they sold them to government at only shs2500.
“The shs100 was operational cost since it was a big magnitude and we didn’t have as many people to help us. We were just conduits linking the small farmers to government,” she noted.
“It seems the negative reports are because of fights between big and small suppliers. There was a competition between small and big suppliers and the former managed to sell to government.”