Government to procure nine million ART kits this month, install vending machines in 20 locations
The government is eyeing to sell Antigen Rapid Test (ART) kits to the public with some nine million kits to be imported in March, said Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy.
Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew said that the importation of ART kits in bulk will help regulate prices with hopes to solve existing high prices due to low stock and high demand for the kits.
“Members of the public need not be worried about the supply of kits which will be set at affordable prices,” he said, adding that there are currently about 1 million sets of ART kits in the country.
At the press briefing on Friday, the minister announced that twenty vending machines are installed in various locations including private clinics.
The public, he added, can continue to purchase from any seller including online vendors if the cost of the ART kit is reasonable and their preferred brand.
“Must make sure that the quality of ART kits purchased are in accordance with the set standards and included in the list that has been approved by the Ministry of Health,” said YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin.
The list of ART kits allowed for sale in Brunei can be obtained by visiting the Ministry of Health’s website www.moh.gov.bn
Moreover, the minister said that the increase in prices in the market is due to the demand and supply factors caused by the limited supply and there is a high demand around the world.
This is also partly driven by changes in government policy such as in Brunei which has started using ART for the confirmation of positive cases since 15 February.
“To ensure the continuous supply of ART at an affordable price, the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economy will start selling ART online through one of the government-linked companies and private clinics,” said the minister.
Each pack of ART kit will be sold at $3 per set and delivery cost will also be charged, he added.
“The supply and delivery will be conducted within three days from
the date of purchase. The start date of the sale, InsyaAllah, will be announced as soon as the logistical preparations are completed,” said the minister.
Members of the public are advised not to take the opportunity to purchase excessively, but to buy the required amount for personal use or for one family only. The cooperation and patience of the public are also requested while waiting for the delivery to be made.
YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew further said that low-income families who receive monthly welfare assistance from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) through the National Welfare System can apply for the ART kit through the Department of Community Development (JAPEM) and MUIB once the items are for sale.
“Each person in a family will be given 10 free ART kits for three months. The distribution of these ART kits will be done through village heads, JAPEM and agents appointed by the government,” he added.
The government is also preparing to enable ART kits to be sold through vending machines soon. These machines will be placed in strategic places and operated by an appointed private company. ART kits sold on these machines will be sold at a price set by the government.
Meanwhile, members of the public can still buy ART kits that are available in the market, said the second minister of finance.
“Business owners are advised not to take advantage and raise the selling price arbitrarily. The Ministry of Finance and Economy through the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics (JPES) will constantly monitor the market price for the ART kits from time to time,” he said.
To ensure the quality of ART kits is in accordance with the set standards, the importation and supply of ART kits must be in line with the list that has been approved by the Ministry of Health.
A list of ART kits allowed for sale in Brunei can be obtained by visiting the Ministry of Health’s website (www.moh.gov.bn).