TFF Component of School Materials Awarded to a Private Company - K69 Million


How will the National Government meet the cost?

The discussion in base on the above report from PNG Legend FM news online. In fact, since the inception of Tuition Fee Free Education policy, procurement of supplies and distribution of school/student's materials are done by Borneo Pharmaceutical's subsidiary HM Supplies Limited. 

The private company has tried its best to deliver the much-needed supplies to school. Whether its attempts have been successful is not a matter of this discussion. 

The opinion shared here is to find a better way - sustainable way - to coordinate the procurement and distribution of school materials. My work on TFF policy has shown that the best way to coordinate the Learning and Teaching grant is through the education department.

The government should avoid using the intermediaries or subsidiaries to do what the department can do. Fund schools directly. 

Let the education department create strong accountability measures around the use of the grant and police them. The department has the manpower and network capability to do it. Do not underestimate the department.

Perhaps it is important to KNOW that the Education Department has an intricate network of national and provincial officers/divisions/branches/TFF secretariat that it (education department) can use supply school materials effectively.

No need to underestimate the education department network

Using the education department to procure and distribute school supplies is not a new concept. School materials, in the past, was the sole responsibility of the education department.

There is NO need for a private company to oversee the procurement and supply of teachers and students' learning materials. 

TFF 40% Cash Grants Facilitated by Education Department

Every year the National Government budgeted over K600,000,000 to fund the TFF policy.

From 2012 to 2016, an average of K6 million had been allocated annually. Of this 60% is not controlled by the education department. The department only oversees the use of 40% cash admin component. 
Bugetary Allocation based on National Budget Documents

The 40% cash grant is the most talked about the component on mainstream and social medium. Most often, schools do not receive the grant on time.

In the last 8 years, the 4th quarter does not reach the schools until the beginning of the next year. So, there are many questions surrounding the release of the 40% School Admin component/Grant: 
  • Are schools really getting the 4 (quarterly) instalments each year? 
  • Is the budget allocation realistic?
  • What is the actual amount released to schools?
  • What is/are the transparency measure/s to monitor the distribution (at the Education Department) and use of the TFF 40% cash grant (by schools)
  • Are the data provided by schools reliable?

To make it clear, the education department has done a fantastic job publishing the financial reports of the 40% cash grants. Visit the education department website or make an appointment with the TFF secretariat to get more information.


TFF 30% Infrastructure Development Grant facilitated by MPs and Provincial Treasuries 

Secondly, the infrastructure grant has lots of grey areas as far as accountability is concerned. Understandably, this was a joint-grant initiative of the government where the local Member of Parliament and provincial treasury work with the school board and school administration to improve school infrastructure. 

MPs are obliged to use taxpayers money which they receive through their DSIP/PSIP to lead infrastructure development projects initiated by schools. 

MPs part in realising the TFF policy's dream of school infrastructural development can be hard to track. The main reason is that there is no presence of centralised data/evidence to show the USE of the 30% infrastructure grant under to control of the MPs and provincial treasuries in the country. 

As mentioned, it remains a grey area unless a mandatory investigative review is conducted to ascertain the use of the 30% grant.

TFF 30% Teaching and Learning (T&L) Support Component - Facilitated by a private company

Thirdly, the T&L support grant is awarded to an expatriate private business - Borneo Pacific  Pharmaceuticals - through its subsidiary MH Supplies Limited.

The company tried its best to procure and deliver students and teachers  (learning and teaching) supplies to schools in the last 8 years. 

However, there also many unanswered questions.
  • Is the company procuring and delivering the right materials to schools? 
  • Are the schools receiving the much-needed supplies on time?
  • What is the cost per head?
  • How much is the company receiving and spending?
  • Are the schools happy with what they are receiving?
  • Can the education department do the procuring and distributing of materials?
  • Why is the government not using the well-established network of the education department as the distribution channel?
The EMTV news reported how the company delivers the school supplies, screenshot.
EMTV REPORT 25 April 2019

Opinions - Social Media

Here are comments on this particular news article on social media:
Wow! Wow! Wow! Last year (2018) schools received their supplies of education materials for 2014. We can only guess that the supplies that were distributed this year to schools were meant for 2015.
This has to be clarified to the nation otherwise some bucks for supplies meant for 2016, 2017 and 2018 are missing. School's basic materials component is probably disappearing from the TFF into thin air this way.
Clarifications needed. Schools through out PNG have received three lots of basic TFF materials. 2013, 2018 and 2019. What happened in between is any body's guess. Ben Berom, PNG Teachers on Facebook, 29/04/2019
Finally, what we know is that the department of education has a reporting mechanism in place where it reports on the 40% Cash Admin grants, titled Administration and Financial report.

The missing data taxpayers must know

The TFF Policy MAY HAVE failed in several ways. One is that there is no evidence of report of the 30% Infrastructure Development grants available in the public domain.

Another financial report that is not available to the public is the administration and financial report for the 30% School Learning and Improvement grant.

So, who are the main players in this TFF policy? It is not the education department. 

The country needs to know, after 8 years, how 60% of the TFF money is spent! We cannot be complacent and hope that all is okay.

When it is about the use of the education Grants, it is every body's business to demand that quality is there and every toea spent on procurement and distribution is accounted. And importantly, the school supplies and infrastructure are delivered.

Furthermore, there is transparency and accountability. Is it too much to ask?

If I have missed something here, I would be glad to be pointed in the right direction. Show me the Administration and Financial Reports of the Infrastructure Development (30%) and the School Learning and Improvement (30%) Grants.

If not, it would only be proper to reiterate the intention of the Minister for Education to conduct an investigative review into the use (and abuse if any) of the TFF funds since 2012. 

This is the right thing to do.


The cost of purchase and supply of school materials for the [four regions in PNG is funded at a tune of K68,954,261.65, nearly K69 million]

  • Momase region is K19,109,330.53, 
  • Southern region – K14,053,335.92,
  • Highlands region – K21,712,86*.74 and
  • Islands region – K14,078,734.46.
[*Digit not indicated from the source, assume it is 0]
    [The cost] will be wholly funded by the National Government.
    The contract was awarded to MH Supplies Limited which was previously engaged by the Department of Education to purchase and supply school materials throughout the country.

    MH Supplies Limited representatives Kelvin Tan and Leslie Tagal signed the contract at Government House this morning witnessed by Department of Education Secretary Dr Uke Kombra.

    Source: April 27, 2019, PNGFM News

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    Is this learning support component of 30% accounted for by the private company?



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