Chairman of Parliament’s Health Committee, Dr Yaw Afriyie, has directed Ghanaians worried about the uncompleted state of some health facilities in the country to seek answers from the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu.
Speaking on PM Express on Wednesday, Dr Afriyie categorically stated that he is not the best individual to provide clarity on the “abandoned health projects” as touted by Ranking Member on the Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh.
“I don’t think I am the one to explain this. I am not the Minister of Health. My position as an oversight person as the Chairman of the Health Committee is virtually to do what my colleague has done,” he told host, Ayisha Ibrahim.
However, he was quick to add that when the incumbent took over the projects that were started under the then Mahama government, the remaining amount could not have completed the about nine projects that were left.
According to him, 85 per cent of USD175million had been used by the NDC government to complete the Dodowa health facility and left the remaining projects about halfway done.
This he said prompted the Akufo-Addo-led government to have an audit to understand why so much was spent yet just a little fraction of the project was completed.
“The new regime was like I would want to find out why you spent a lot and did little. The audit started somewhere in 2017, so with my understanding, it took about a year to two years plus”; adding that “the findings went to the Ministry of Finance and they also sought the Attorney General’s advise that the government of Ghana has committed itself to this project.
Then the Attorney General advised them to repackage Garu, Abetifi, Sekondi and let the contractor go and look for financing.”
Dr Afriyie explained that the contractor, a British entity, also had to survey the projects that had been started to find out where the remaining USD38million had to be allocated. But this, he said was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“They decided that at the level of tear and wear, apply the money into Kumawu, Fomena and European Hospital. So they came to Parliament just around June with the addendum of which we sat and approved that what is left can do only three sites so apply these monies,” he said.
According to the Chairman of Parliament’s Health Committee, the Ghana government cannot be held accountable for the delay in completing these projects because funds are generated by the contractor.
This fund he says is to be provided by the UK Export Fund.
“The money is not coming from Ghana government. It is coming from the UK. If you want advance mobilization, what you have to do is that the Ministry of Health will submit your withdrawal letter to the Ministry of Finance and they, in turn, will pass it on to the UK and the UK will release the money.
“As I speak with you, all these have been done. We are waiting for fund to be released from the UK so the contractors can complete Kumawu, Fomena, European Hospital. If the money is not coming, do you blame the government for this? I don’t understand,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Dr Yaw Afriyie wants to know why the NDC government during the period in which Seth Terpker was Minister of Finance, failed to renew the project deal when it was due to expire.
“The program was supposed to have ended on December 31, 2016, where they would have constructed almost about 10 hospitals.
“As of 2016, in August when it went for renewal, they had only completed Dodowa and the remaining were on average about 50 per cent complete. Yet about 85 per cent of the money had been given out. Out of USD175million, it was left with almost USD38million. So the financial consumption had outweighed what was there physically and for that matter, they went to the then Finance Minister Seth Terpker for renewal and he decided not to renew it in August and it actually expired in December 2016.
“The question is going to be that, I want to find out why the former Minister, Seth Terpker did not renew the mandate of the then contractors.”
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