The Minority in Parliament is raising questions about the whereabouts of some GHC 636million that the government secured last year for preparatory works towards the phantom 88 district hospitals that President Akufo Addo promised to construct in less than one year (in 2020).
None of those 88 hospitals were constructed as the government becomes the butt of jokes.
Consequently, the Minority was forced to raise red flags about the disappeared funds in 2020, following the Akufo Addo administration again promising that it will spend some US$ 1.9 billion for the construction of some 111 hospitals across the country. The government has slapped a lofty slogan on the project, calling it “Agenda 111.”
In a statement signed by Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, the Minority points out that the government has claimed that GHC 36 million has been spent on project designs, consultants and coordination for the 88 hospitals of 2020, but has been silent on the remaining GHC 600 million earmarked for the project.
“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,” the Minority statement read.
On Tuesday, the Akufo Addo government announced the commencement of its project to build 111 hospitals across the country. According to a fanfare launch of the official commencement, an initial 87 hospitals will be constructed.
But as the Minority points out, all the fanfare and buzz over the commencement of the so-called Agenda 111 is glossing over Ghc636million connected to the project that has not been properly accounted for.
Meanwhile, the Minority says it is also of the opinion that the government’s allocation of $16.88 million per hospital or $1.9 billion for the 111 district hospitals is woefully inadequate saying it raises issues about the quality of hospitals the government wants to build.
This it explains is because the same government recently quoted US$40million as the amount it would need to build a district hospital that meets the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO).
“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 the 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 should we expect health centres?” Said the statement from the Minority.
“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, they pointed out that 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 the 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.”
“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, Twifo Praso, Nkawkaw, Salaga, Abetifi and Fomena; the 500-bed 37 Military Hospital at Afari and the 250-bed Kumasi Regional Hospital Sewua,” the Minority said.