The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Ningo-Pampram and a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Sam George, clashed with the Director-General of the Ghana Health Services yesterday over the cost of the construction of the Bekwai Government Hospital and the state’s huge NHIS indebtedness to the hospital when the committee started its public hearing on the 2016 Auditor-General’s report.
The Ningo-Pampram MP had questioned why a loan facility of GH¢18 million contracted in 2010 by the previous government for the construction of the Tarkwa Government Hospital in the Western Region and Bekwai Government Hospital in the Ashanti Region could finish the Tarkwa Hospital completely and 80% of the Bekwai Hospital but now the present government has gone for another loan of 22 million Euros in December, last year for the completion of the Bekwai Hospital which is already 80% complete.
In responding to the issue raised by the Ningo-Pampram MP, the Director-General of GHS, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, said the amount of GH¢18 million quoted in the Auditor-General’s report could be wrong because GH¢18 million is too meagre to construct two hospitals and that he thought the right figure might be $18 million.
The Director-General further explained that the 22 million Euros for the completion of the Bekwai Hospital is not meant for the completion of the physical structures of the facility alone but for equipping the facility as well stressing that equipping a hospital to an average standard could be more expensive than the physical structure.
The Ningo-Prampram MP still maintained that the extra cost for the completion of the Bekwai Hospital is too huge and the committee ought to assess the project’s value for money.
The ranking member of the committee, Mr Kofi Okyere Agyekum, who is also the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Fanteakwa South said that the Ningo-Prampram MP might not be right if he made that general conclusion without considering other factors that could eventually affect the cost of the project.
According to him, the delay in completion could affect the cost of the project while the unfortunate depreciation of the cedi over the period that the project was left uncompleted could also affect the cost so the Ningo-Prampram MP should consider these factors before coming to that general conclusion.
The Ningo-Prampram MP also wanted to find out when the indebtedness of the government with regards to NHIS which amounted to over GH¢1.2 million in the last two years was paid to the hospital.
The Director-General said government paid the amount in 10 installments from 2017 to 2018 and that all the hospital’s arrears have been cleared.