Defense masks not on time, but slightly cheaper


The millions of mouth masks that Defense ordered to hand out to the population will all be delivered next week at the earliest. The invoice therefore drops a bit.

The first shipment of the huge order of dust masks placed by Defense at the beginning of May has been delivered. The Ghent company Tweeds & Cottons already delivered 1 million masks last Saturday, and this weekend the other 2 million that Defense had ordered will follow. That is neat before the deadline of Sunday evening 23:59. Another supplier, Avrox in Luxembourg, will not meet that deadline.

The order with Avrox is many times larger, it concerns 15 million masks. Some of these will also be delivered this weekend, but the rest will follow next week, after the deadline. Defense reports this in a press release. “Every day delay in delivery, as contractually provided, will be subject to a fine from May 25,” it reads.

Fine up to 750,000 euros per day

According to Le Soir the fine per day is 2 percent of the cost price of the masks delivered late, and this with a ceiling of 10 percent of the total invoice. That amounts to 37.5 million euros, which would mean that the fine could rise to 750,000 euros per day if Avrox is late with full delivery.

Defense and the cabinet of Defense Minister Philippe Goffin (MR) were unable to confirm those figures. It is certain that the total invoice will become “more favorable” due to the fine.

In any case, the Ministry of Defense will only pay the invoice if all masks have been delivered and are “qualitatively accepted”. Both suppliers provided samples in advance, which were found to meet the standards after tests in both a Defense lab and a specialized independent laboratory.

Promised by the government

The order by Defense came after the government’s promise that every Belgian would receive a free mouth mask. It is still being investigated how the masks are distributed. The intention is to let that happen through the pharmacists. “The distribution network is fast and efficient, and pharmacists are best trained to provide guidelines for use and maintenance to the population. They also allow an individualized distribution, “says the Defense press release.

The government also promised to provide all Belgians with two filters that they can apply in homemade masks. That order is in the hands of Minister of Work and Economy Nathalie Muylle (CD&V). However, those filters do not fit in the masks ordered by Defense. Goffin previously admitted in parliament that the ordered masks are not compatible with the filters.

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