The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) is calling on government and the Ministry of Finance to ensure efficiency in the use of petroleum revenue meant to fund projects under the health sector.
According to PIAC, government has from the year 2011 to 2019 allocated an amount of GHS68 million to health care delivery in the country.
The amount, which is highly inadequate for the sector, has been spread across several projects, leaving many of them incomplete.
Speaking to Citi Business News on the sidelines of a technical roundtable on Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) expenditure as well as the management and use of petroleum revenue allocated to the health sector, Technical Manager for PIAC, Mark Agyeman, said healthcare projects should receive sustainable funding until completion.
“The way forward is that, as long as the health sector has been chosen as a priority area for government, then, the sustained focus of government should be given to that sector. Because, if you check figures from 2011 to 2019, about 4% of total ABFA has gone into health financing and from 2017 to 2019 about 3% has gone to the sector. So, we are calling for increased disbursement to that area and spread the disbursement across both capital expenditure and service delivery,” he said.
He also expressed concern over the delays in the completion of projects funded with Ghana’s petroleum revenue explaining that should ABFA-funded projects continue to suffer the fate of delayed completion, Ghana will excessively spend its ABFA but will have no projects to show for it.
“All over the country, we have thousands of ABFA-funded projects. If we continue to stretch our petroleum funds [like this], we will produce oil for 200 years but we can’t pinpoint a single project that petroleum revenue has funded. This is because there is no continuous flow of funds to projects. They get stalled for years and this affects project completion cost. It gets to a certain stage before you can continue and this increases project completion cost,” he said.
The Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) is the share of petroleum revenue that goes into Ghana’s annual budget.
For the first time, the health sector was selected as one of the four key priority areas to receive funding from the ABFA for the period 2017 to 2019.
The investment of the ABFA in the health sector was targeted at bridging the equity gaps in geographical access to health services, improving the quality of health services delivery and intensifying prevention and control of non-communicable and other communicable diseases.
For this reason, 100% of the ABFA disbursements to the sector for the three-year period was expended on capital projects such as CHPS compound facilities, e-health projects among others.