Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta will address issues concerning the funding and resources to be allocated for the new hospitals to be built across the country in the 2020 mid-year budget review in July.
The Finance Minister is mandated to submit a review of the budget to Parliament mid-way through the year.
This affords government the chance to make changes and adjustments based on expenditure and revenue expectations, among others.
Following President Akufo-Addo’s revelation of government’s plan to construct some 88 district hospitals, research laboratories and other health interventions in a quest to build a solid health system post-COVID-19, questions have been raised about how government hopes to fund this considering the economic impacts of the pandemic and timelines set.
Speaking in an interview on Accra-based Joy FM monitored by ABC News, the Information Minister said though he agrees with the critics that there was no budgetary allocation for the creation of the new hospitals, he indicated that the intervention has become necessary to ensure the country isn’t hit hard by future pandemics.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah noted that the 94 new hospitals across the country will take a year to complete once all the resources are available.
According to him, President Akufo-Addo has instructed all sector ministries and agencies to come up with an evaluation of how COVID-19 has affected their original plans which will feed into the Finance Minister’s budget review in July.
Alluding to the impact of the Coronavirus, he urged the public bear in mind that the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus has ruined government’s original plans for 2020.
“Of course there’s no budgetary allocation for it in the 2020 budget as it stands now. Two things will happen; once they’re done with the modelling of the funding arrangement, when he comes at mid-year review, we’ll have an opportunity for him to explain to us how it affects recalibrated budget for 2020 or how it affects the fiscal forecast for 2020. So as we stand now, we will not be in the position to answer the question that the Finance Minister is going to answer in July but whatever these calibrations mean, it will have an impact on whatever mid-year review takes place including what it needs for health,” he explained.
He continued that “our entire budget for 2020 has been significantly thrown out of gear because of COVID-19 and by July, when the Minister responsible for Finance has an opportunity to do a mid-year review, we will see what it means for all the commitment from Information Ministry to Health, to every other Ministry Department and Agencies. But separate from that, there’s this priority that the president has outlined in the policy infrastructure form and we’re supposed to work it modeling and feed that into whatever recalibrations are going to be announced to us in July.”