Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo has that his government will start putting up 88 hospitals in 88 districts that have none. This is to boost health delivery across the country.
President Akufo-Addo promises to build 88 hospitals in a year but a former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper believes it's a "tall order"
Building 88 hospitals in a year “tall order” – Terkper, as he questions gov't's borrowing capacity – Terkper
Nana Akufo-Addo said this when he addressed the nation for the eight-time on the Coronavirus outbreak.
The president admitted that the pandemic has shown the loopholes in the Ghanaian health sector and promised to resolve as many of them as possible.
Giving a breakdown of the hospitals to be built, he said 10 will be n the Ashanti region, nine in the Volta region, nine in the Central region, eight in the Eastern Region, and seven in the Greater Accra region.
Also, seven of the hospitals will be built in Upper East, five each in the Northern, Oti, Upper West, and the Bono regions, while four will be built in the Western North and Western regions.
Meanwhile, the Ahafo and Savannah regions will have three district hospitals, two in Bono East, and two more in North East Regions.
But a former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper said Ghana cannot continue borrowing to finance projects. He said the spree of borrowing is worrying and unnecessary.
“Let me grant that we have the capacity to borrow so much money, why did we rush to the IMF for COVID-19 for US$1 billion, and why did we have to go and raise the Stabilisation Fund to take all the money out.”
He told Accra-based Class FM that the last three years have been the best in terms of oil revenue for the country. He said oil production increased from about 70,000 barrels per day in the Mahama era to about 190,000 per day.
He added that the price of oil increased from about US$40 per barrel to US$60 per barrel.
He said he does not understand why the government is rushing to do this especially when they have to borrow for it.
“One is baffled…I did not want to question the government but for the purpose of the clarification, what was the rush about.”
He added that he is asking questions because the government in 2019, used 98.8% of gross tax revenue to settle interest payments as well as wages and salaries, leaving only about 1.2% to finance other projects.
Mr Terkper argued that the President’s announcement to put up 88 hospitals is not in line with how Ghana does things and will continue to do things.
“In the first place, the mid-year review, when it comes with a supplementary budget which is where this is going to come to, the constitution is quite clear on the purpose of the supplementary budget – which is anything which is not anticipated in the budget.”
“And one will think that for 88 hospitals, even if they are all district hospitals, even if they are all chip compounds, are big projects”.
“I think is a tall order even if it’s going to be completed”, Mr Terkper added
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