The Minority in Parliament is asking for accountability for monies spent in the implementation of the government’s plan to build 111 hospitals across the country.
The Minority in a statement noted that the plan, christened Agenda 111, has already been backed with GHS600 million despite being launched on Tuesday, August 17, 2021.
This allocation is captured in the 2021 mid-year budget review in addition to GHS36 million released for the payment of consultancy fees, design, project management and coordination.
The Minority is however concerned that there are no details for the expenditure.
“We are of the view that, barring corruption, it is highly untenable for government to spend such a colossal sum on a project for which we are told no mobilisation will be paid to contractors before the commencement of works.”
The Minority is also worried that insufficient money is being allocated to the project.
Each of the hospitals will cost $16.88 million, with $12.88 million being used for the construction of the hospitals and $4 million for medical equipment.
The Minority noted that a standard WHO district hospital government requires about $40 million for construction.
“Interestingly, although an allocation of GHS1,476 million was made for the provision of Health Infrastructure or Agenda 111 projects, the amount has been slashed by almost half to the current allocation of GHS779 million. How government expects to construct 101 district hospitals from GHS 779 million is a puzzle.”
Thus, the Minority wants to know the government’s source of funding for Agenda 111 year by year.
“We are raising issues of funding because of the plethora of abandoned and in some cases never-ending health projects littered across the country,” it explained.
Until these concerns are addressed, the Minority said it will have “doubts as to the government’s commitment to implementing Agenda 111 and also protecting the public purse.”
READ FULL STATEMENT
MINORITY IN PARLIAMENT
The Minority in Parliament will like to call on the Akufo-Addo Administration to
expeditiously account for a colossal sum of GH₵636 million already utilised on
the Agenda 111 projects.
Although yesterday generally marked the commencement of works on 87 sites
out of the 111 envisaged under the Agenda 111 project and should have heralded great celebrations across the length and breadth of the country, the Minority is of the view that government has some explaining to do on how it spent GH₵636 million as detailed in Appendix 4D and 4E of the 2021 mid-year budget review.
Per the appendices, some GH₵36 million has been spent on project designs, consultants and coordinators this year, however the sum of GH₵600 million released and utilised in 2020 has no details whatsoever. It is therefore necessary that government explains the purpose for which it applied the GH₵600 million as indicated in the 2021 mid-year budget review.
We are of the view that barring corruption, it is highly untenable for government to spend such a colossal sum on a project for which we are told no mobilisations will be paid to contractors before commencement of works.
The Minority is also of the opinion that allocating a budget of $16.88 million per hospital or $1,704.88 million for the 101 district hospitals is woefully inadequate and raises issues about the standard of hospitals government wants to build. Not so long ago we were all well informed in parliament that to build a standard WHO district hospital government requires about £32million or $40million dollars. This was the case when government brought the agreement for funding of the Shama District Hospital, a project which is currently uncompleted. Are we therefore getting a WHO-standard district hospital or we should expect health centres?
Interestingly, although an allocation of GH₵ 1,476 million was made for the provision of Health Infrastructure or Agenda 111 projects, the amount has been slashed by almost half to the current allocation of GH₵ 779 million. How government expects to construct 101 district hospitals from GH₵ 779million is a puzzle.
Also, dividing the total allocation by a Cedi conversion of $16.88m should provide about 8 hospitals and not the 87 the President announced. We therefore demand that government should at the very least provide a master plan that spells out the sources of funding, the annual funding amount and credible timelines within which Ghanaians can expect the completion of the Agenda 111 hospitals.
To simplify, we want to know government’s source of funding for Agenda 111 year by year. We are raising issues of funding because of the plethora of abandoned and in some cases never-ending health projects littered across the country. They include 60-bed district hospitals at Kumawu, TwifoPraso, Nkawkaw, Salaga, Abetifi and Fomena; the 500-bed 37 Military Hospital at Afari and the 250-bed Kumasi Regional Hospital Sewua.
In the case of the Fomena District Hospital, it was 85% complete at the time the NDC handed over power to the NPP in January 2017 but still remains uncompleted after 5 years of the PP administration. Ghanaians can no longer accept the ad-hoc measures of irregular allocation of funds for critical projects by the Akufo-Addo administration and it must apprise itself of the fact that it has 3 more years to end its term of disappointing governance.
Another major concern is the fact that government has decided to employ a team of project coordinators at the Presidency under the supervision of the Chief of Staff to implement this project sidestepping the statutorily mandated agency, the Ministry of Health, where government has all the technical experts with the requisite know-how and experience to implement these project.
We believe it is not proper for the Chief of Staff, operating under the Office of the President, to be handpicking contractors for a major government project such as Agenda 111 while the Ministry of Health is pushed aside.
This creation of a team of coordinators at the Presidency highly paid and chauffeured in luxurious multipurpose 4 x 4 vehicles at the expense of taxpayer smacks of an agenda to create ‘jobs for the boys’ or worse corruption. We therefore strongly urge government to disband the team of coordinators and hand over the implementation of Agenda 111 projects to the Ministry of Health without delay.
To conclude, the Minority will like to call on the Akufo-Addo government to come clean on the following: a. How it spent a colossal sum of GH₵600 million on Agenda 111 last year with no work done. b. Whether it plans to build health centres and polyclinics looking at the allocations for the various projects or it really plan to do all that it promised under Agenda 111. And must expeditiously: a. Handover the coordination and implementation of Agenda 111 to the Ministry of Health. b. Provide a clear outline on the sources of funds and a year by year expenditure on Agenda 111 projects. Until government considers the above issues and opens up to the Ghanaian public, we the minority will always have our doubts as to government’s commitment to implementing Agenda 111 and also protecting the public purse.
KwabenaMintahAkandoh (MP) MP for Juaboso& Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health