A forum on the management and use of petroleum revenues has made a strong case for government to provide sustained funding by investing petroleum revenues in the health sector.
The Accountability Workstream Lead at the Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth (GOGIG), Mr Samuel Bekoe, noted that health sector financing had stagnated in spite of stability in spending and so needs more investment to ensure equity and access.
He said Ghana currently spends less than two per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on health investment, against the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation of at least five per cent.
"There is a good reason to invest in health. Donor funding for health is reducing over time and so, government need to increase investment to finance interventions in the sector," he stated during the technical roundtable in Accra organised by the Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC).
Mr Bekoe explained that in relation to the distribution of revenue per the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) health became a priority area in 2017 but it was receiving funds under roads from 2011.
He said a healthy population was needed to contribute to economic prosperity and productivity, and increase short term consumption and promote long term savings.
In closing the gap in health investment, he said the government needed to allocate more money and increase efficiency to see growth in the sector.
"We are suggesting the little we get from oil money, a strategic investment that aligns with national policy and robust and transparent procurement and financial management system to ensure growth in the sector," he said.
On his part, the Technical Manager of PIAC, Mr Mark Agyemang, outlined some challenges associated with the ABFA administration which includes unaccounted funds of GH¢1.48 billion as at the end of 2019, thin spread of projects and unequal funding to priority areas.
He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had further exposed the teething challenges in the country's healthcare delivery.
"Once selected as a priority area, the sector should be allocated significant funds to improve the quality healthcare delivery,'' he said.
The Coordinator of PIAC, Ms Marilyn Aniwa, said the roundtable was the second in a series of policy roundtables by the committee to review the allocations to various priority areas.
"Recommendations and advocacy by PIAC and its partners have shaped both government and corporate policies in the petroleum sector over time," she said.
She said that PIAC saw the need to organise another roundtable to understand the broader policy dimension, technical and financing strategies that underlie the overall sector plan in the health sector.
"This has become more critical in the face of the COVID 19 pandemic, exposing the challenges and vulnerabilities of the sector.