An amount of €890 million has been set aside by the government for the construction of 33 major health projects in the country.

This was disclosed by the Caretaker Minister of Finance, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.

Presenting the government’s 2021 Budget Statement and Economic Policy in Parliament on Friday, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who doubles as the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Member of Parliament for Suame indicated that these projects are part of the state’s grand agenda to managing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“33 major health projects have been approved for implementation at a cost of €890 million”, the Minister said.

He among other things said despite the unexpected increase in government’s expenditure due to the outbreak, it is however committed to carrying out these projects.

Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu announced that in pursuit of the government’s health infrastructure drive, including Agenda 111,  the Health Ministry awarded contracts for the construction of 101 district hospitals, seven regional hospitals and three Psychiatric Hospitals.

“In 2021, the implementation of these projects will continue”, he said.

Other health infrastructure projects earmarked to be continued for the year under review include the Koforidua Regional Hospital, Shama District Hospital, La General Hospital and Tema Regional Hospital.

The rest are the reconstruction of the Central Medical Store, District Hospital in Nkoranza and the Accident and Emergency Center Dormaa Hospital.

COVID-19 Health Levy

Meanwhile, the government has announced the introduction of a COVID-19 levy to cater for the increasing state expenditure brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The newly proposed levy will be a one percentage point increase on both the existing VAT Flat Rate Scheme (VFRS) and National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL).

Monies accrued from the imposition of the levy will go into the construction of health infrastructure, recruitment of more health personnel, vaccination programme and address other challenges in a bid to manage the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

“To provide the requisite resources to address these challenges and fund these activities, the government is proposing the introduction of a COVID-19 Health Levy of a one percentage point increase in the National Health Insurance Levy and a one percentage point increase in the VAT Flat Rate to support expenditures related to COVID-19,” Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu disclosed.

The Minister admitted that expenditure on health infrastructure and health-related items such as vaccines, hospital supplies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) would become routine.

However, the government “will take measures to ensure that these additional critical expenditures do not undermine our fiscal consolidation and debt sustainability.”