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10pc capital boost

Ropate Valemei
Tuesday, November 27, 2012

THE Ministry of Health will invest more money in developing infrastructure in 2013.

In an interview yesterday, Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma revealed the ministry normally spent 20 per cent of their budget on capital works and 80 per cent was used for operational costs

However, he said the ministry would allocate 30 per cent of their budget to capital works and 70 per cent to operational costs next year.

"A lot of times in the past, 20 per cent was used on development and 80 per cent to pay the doctors and the nurses but at the end of the day, very little development was done," Dr Sharma said.

"What we will do is to put it back to a ratio of 30 to 70. In the future, we hope to take this ratio to 40 to 60. With this, we will be well positioned.

"There is a reason why we take up this profession and that is to help people because of the compassion but now it has turned into being dollar centred.

"We have to turn that around so we can develop some better operational focus," he added.

In the 2013 budget government had allocated an additional $15million to the Ministry of Health, amounting to a total grant of $167 million in the 2013 budget.

The funds will allow the ministry to cover operational costs and improve existing services, equipment, and infrastructure.

The Ministry of Health's National Budget 2013, has a mix of capital works and operational costs.

Capital is what they build or repair, the development that will be undertaken. Operational costs, on the other hand are divided into 13 segments.

"Segment one is what you pay your professionals, segment two is what you pay as government wage earners, segment three is your communication expense, fuel, electricity and as you go down to 13, this is what VAT you are paying," Dr Sharma said.

All these years, the ministry had built many institutions and facilities but had not been able to maintain all of it.

"We have not provided it with a coat of paint, when you go out to the Eastern Division, you will find that there are health centres with no paint, the gutters have fallen off, no more water left there, the poor nurse is trying to do her thing, the machine is broken down. So what she is able to do is a big issue," Dr Sharma said.





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